Pretty and pretty pointless
Terrence Malick’s To The Wonder is similar to an abstract painting that’s nice to look at, but isn’t compelling enough to make you stare and search for meaning for almost two hours. It strays away from conventional storytelling and in its place is a narrative almost devoid of dialogue coupled with voiceovers and visual mannerisms that make the film seem less meaningful and more pointless as time passes.
The story is told in the perspective of four people played by Olga Kurylenko, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem. All of them struggle to find something that I can only assume centers on love, happiness, and God. Aside from a few smiles and laughs, none of them actually say much. This leaves them relying on body language and actions to express their emotions and explain what the hell is going on. Even I can’t quite decide what the main point of the movie is, though I guess that’s the real intent of Malick – to leave everything that was presented open to interpretation and discussion. Only then, I believe, will people find enough things to satisfy themselves in this vagueness.
Of course, its weird structure could annoy people that they won’t even bother talking about it. I myself found Malick’s style to be tiresome and unsustainable. As for Wonder’s entirety, it’s a bit gloomy and dull; certainly not enjoyable, but the cast and the picturesque settings have enough charm to keep you watching through the end.