Movie Mom

Movie Mom


To the Wonder

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some sexuality/nudity
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:Nudity, sexual situations
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking
Violence/Scariness:Tense confrontations
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013

Director Terrence Malick has made a movie for those fans who loved “Tree of Life” but thought it was too linear and easy to follow.

“To the Wonder” is an impressionistic story of love and loss.  Theoretically it stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem, and Olga Kurylenko, but in reality the star is the sun,.  It seems to be the focus of almost every exquisitely framed shot, with sunlight flaring always just so through the meticulously arranged tree branches behind the beautiful woman who loves to twirl.  This movie has a lot of sunlight and a lot of twirling.  Also a lot of what I will call affectionate rough-housing, which I think — can’t be sure about anything here — is the primary, if middle-school-ish, way these characters indicate that they like each other.

It does not have a lot of dialogue, and what conversations we do overhear are almost incidental.  The talk we hear is mostly the murmured, diary-like narration of a French single mother who falls in love with an American and brings her daughter to live with him in a barren house in a barren landscape that is in sharp contrast with the “wonder” of the rich environment she left behind.  Malick seems to have a devilish pleasure in withholding information.  The daughter, Tatiana, is the only character whose name we are allowed to know.

YouTube Preview Image

It is maddeningly opaque at times but undeniably lyrical.  It does not just break free from narrative; it explodes it into an almost-pointillist kaleidoscope of images, whispers, and detours.  Where “Tree of Life” had a dinosaur, “To the Wonder” has a zig into an underwater scene with sea turtles before it zags into a separate segment (I can’t say story) about a sad priest (Bardem).

If is more tone poem than movie, it is an intriguing one, touching on themes of connection and disconnection, love and betrayal, at the level of society and individuals.  At times it is annoyingly opaque, but there are also moments of stunning beauty.  If he continues down this road, Malick’s next movie will be delivered to the theater in individual frames, to be tossed toward the screen in random order, and many of them will feature sun flares.  But I’ll still go to see it.

Parents should know that this movie includes sexual references and situations, briefly explicit, including adultery, nudity, smoking, and drinking.

Family discussion:  Why is the story told through narration instead of dialogue?  How does the issue of contamination of the soil and water relate to the story?  Why is the house unfurnished?

If you like this, try: “Tree of Life”

 

 

 

Parents should know that this movie includes some nudity and explicit sexual situations, including adultery.  Characters drink alcohol.



Previous Posts

Does PG-13 Mean Anything Anymore?
The Washington Post has an article about a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies," with some disturbing conclusions about parents' ability to make good decisions about the impact some media may have on their children. This is not

posted 8:00:58am Oct. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Is E-Reading to Kids the Same as Analog Reading?
The New York Times asks, Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time? In a 2013 study, researchers found that children ages 3 to 5 whose parents read to them from an electronic book had lower reading comprehension than children whose parents used traditional books. Part of th

posted 8:00:40am Oct. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Todd and Jedd Wider about the Bullying Documentary "Mentor"
Producers Todd and Jedd Wider generously took time to answer my questions about their documentary, "Mentor," the story of two teenagers who committed suicide following relentless bullying. The film, which received Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Woodstock Film Festival th

posted 3:56:57pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ApzHJhZz2JQ" frameborder="0"] The latest in Disney's animated Tinkerbell series adds Ginnifer Goodwin to the cast. Coming in March of 2015, it explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity

posted 1:23:59pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: "Avatar" Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in "23 Blast"
Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in "Avatar." But in "23 Blast," based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a good guy, the coach who encouraged and supported him. I talked to Lang about actin

posted 5:56:30am Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.