To the Wonder (2012) Dir. Terrence Malick


Love is a movement. Moving forward. Moving on. Moving from one place into another. Moving creates an illusion that things are dynamic, changing, not standing still. But is it enough for two people who love each other to be happy? Picturesque, interesting, beautiful.

The picture shows how people meet, get together, split up, but it never explains why. A European bride (Olga Kurylenko) in love that feels something is missing in her American marriage, a priest (Javier Bardem) that has doubts about God, a daughter not able to adapt and find friends (Tatiana Chiline). Only two people understand the reason they want to be together, or why they want to break up. And when they do, there is movement. Moving on to another relationship, to another country. The title indicates a movement towards something too, towards wonder. Even the camera does not stand still for a moment, it creates an impression it’s always in motion, being moved by someone. Interestingly, there’s also a movement in narration. It is seemingly narrated by women, but their narration revolves around a man (Ben Affleck), everything goes back to him – and he’s the silent one.

On the other hand, it’s all an illusion: all characters are beautiful, they are even pretty when they fight. They’re detached from any reality. But this reality encapsulates multiple cultures, languages, feelings, behaviors, doubts. Is doubt the common denominator for all of the characters then? Or is it love?

Terrenc Malick once again is trying to capture love and beauty in his picture. And with all this movement, we’re really the ones being moved.

Long days, pleasant nights,
Veronica Bazydlo

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