To the Wonder
|To the Wonder|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Terrence Malick|
|Produced by||Nicolas Gonda
|Written by||Terrence Malick|
|Music by||Hanan Townshend|
|Editing by||A.J. Edwards
|Distributed by||Magnolia Pictures (US)
StudioCanal UK (UK)
|Release dates||September 2, 2012 (Venice)
February 22, 2013 (UK)
April 12, 2013 (US)
|Running time||113 minutes|
To the Wonder is a 2012 romantic drama art film written and directed by Terrence Malick, starring Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, and Javier Bardem. The film premiered in competition at the 2012 Venice Film Festival. The film is also notable for being the subject of film critic Roger Ebert's last review, filed on March 16, 2013.
Neil (Ben Affleck) is an American traveling in Europe who meets and falls in love with Marina (Olga Kurylenko), a Ukrainian divorcée who is raising her 10-year-old daughter Tatiana (Tatiana Chiline) in Paris. The lovers travel to Mont St. Michel, the island abbey off the coast of Normandy, basking in the wonder of their newfound romance. Neil makes a commitment to Marina, inviting her to relocate to his native Oklahoma with Tatiana. Neil takes a job as an environmental inspector, and Marina settles into her new life in America. After some time, the couple’s passionate romance cools, and Marina finds solace with the Catholic priest Father Quintana (Javier Bardem), who is undergoing a crisis of faith. Along with this, Tatiana begins to feel homesick due to not having any friends at her school, and claiming Neil is not her father. Sometime later, Marina tells Neil that her visa has expired, and she and her daughter return to France.
Continuing his job as an environmental inspector, Neil reconnects with Jane (Rachel McAdams), a childhood friend. Jane tells Neil that her farm is going bankrupt due to her previous husband entering a gambling debt. Neil begins a romance with Jane. Back in France, after giving Tatiana over to be with her former husband, Marina misses Oklahoma and is unable to find a job. Due to Neil's unwillingness to commit with Jane, their relationship disintegrates. Returning to Oklahoma, Marina reconnects with Neil, and the couple marries in a civil ceremony. After going to the doctor discussing the removal of an intrauterine device in order to have children, Marina, shortly after having a religious marital ceremony, begins to feel isolated again, and their relationship begins to deteriorate. Meanwhile, Father Quintana continues to minister to prisoners and local people. One day, Marina approaches Charlie (Charles Baker), a carpenter who gave her a wind harp some time before, and she follows him to a motel room where the two have a tryst. While in a drive-through at a fast food restaurant, Marina confesses to the affair asking Neil for forgiveness. In anger, Neil pulls over and leaves Marina stranded by the road. Shortly after, Neil returns to pick her up.
Neil later seeks counselling from Father Quintana, while Marina seems to have a new child from her encounter with Charlie. Neil follows the priest as he ministers to the poor and appears to learn forgiveness and humility from the experience. Neil eventually offers Marina his forgiveness, kneeling before her and kissing her hands. Nonetheless, it seems Neil and Marina divorce and they are last seen together as he leaves Marina at an airport. Marina tells him, "I want to keep your name". The film's closing moments depict Father Quintana in his work tending the aged, the poor and the imprisoned with voice-over from the Priest reciting a variation of the prayer of St. Patrick ("Christ with me. Christ before me. Christ behind me..."). A few years later, Neil is seen with what looks like his eventual family while Marina wakes in a rain-drenched, pastoral setting. In a state of ecstatic discovery, she turns to see a brilliant, golden light pass over her face. "The Wonder" – Mont Saint-Michel – remains rooted to the earth with its spire piercing heaven.
- Ben Affleck as Neil
- Olga Kurylenko as Marina
- Rachel McAdams as Jane
- Javier Bardem as Father Quintana
- Tatiana Chiline as Tatiana
- Charles Baker as Charles
- Romina Mondello as Anna
When the film entered production it did not have a title, and was referred to by the crew as Project D. Filming took place primarily in Bartlesville and Pawhuska, Oklahoma, and began in September 2010. Additional shooting took place in early 2011 in Bartlesville and Paris, France. Malick and his crew adopted an experimental approach. Actors described working without a screenplay or the use of lights. Emmanuel Lubezki called the film 'abstract' and described it as being less tied to theatrical conventions and more purely cinematic than any prior film directed by Malick. As with its predecessor The Tree of Life, the film's plot had autobiographical elements: Terrence Malick met Michèle Morette (his second wife) in Paris in the early 1980s, and the couple lived in Oklahoma for a period prior to their separation.
The film's MPAA rating listing revealed its title to be To the Wonder. After a world premiere on September 2, 2012, as an official selection of the 69th Venice Film Festival, the film screened at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. The film opened theatrically in the US on April 12, 2013. To the Wonder had its East Asian premiere at the 2013 Hong Kong International Film Festival.
The film has received mixed reviews in the United States, as it holds a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 147 reviews with the consensus, "To the Wonder demonstrates Terrence Malick's gift for beautiful images, but its narrative is overly somber and emotionally unsatisfying."
To the Wonder was the final film reviewed by Roger Ebert, prior to his death on April 4, 2013. His review was published on April 6, two days after he died. He awarded it three and a half out of four stars. "A more conventional film would have assigned a plot to these characters and made their motivations more clear. Malick, who is surely one of the most romantic and spiritual of filmmakers, appears almost naked here before his audience, a man not able to conceal the depth of his vision".
The film opened with $130,000 in select screens and was in the top ten iTunes rentals the week of its opening.
Awards and nominations
|List of accolades|
|Award / Film festival||Category||Recipient(s)||Result|
|69th Venice Film Festival||Golden Lion||Terrence Malick||Nominated|
|SIGNIS Award||Terrence Malick||Won|
- "To The Wonder (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
- "2012 Official Selection". La Biennale di Venezia. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- "Remembering the Roger I knew". Chicago Sun-Times Blogs. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
- "Terrence Malick to shoot romantic drama". Film Nation Entertainment. 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- Sneider, Jeff (2010-08-12). "Exclusive: Ben Affleck, Rachel Weisz Join Terrence Malick's Next Movie". The Wrap. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- Macnab, Geoffrey; Lubezki, Emmanuel (July 2011). "The Light Fantastic". Sight & Sound (BFI) 21 (7): 22–23.
- "Malick Movie Confirmed for Oklahoma, Shooting Begins". Rockville Music Magazine. 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- Polacca, Benny (2010-10-19). "Untitled film starring Ben Affleck shot in downtown Pawhuska". Osage News. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- Smith, Michael (2011-03-25). "Tulsa stockbroker lucks into acting role with Ben Affleck". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- Chitwood, Adam (2011-05-28). "New Details on Terrence Malick's Romantic Drama Starring Ben Affleck". Collider. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- Weintraub, Steve (2011-01-05). "Barry Pepper Exclusive Interview". Collider. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- "The Ghost Dance". The Whale-Ship Globe. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
- "Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen & Amanda Peet Also Cut From Terrence Malick's 'To The Wonder'". The Playlist. 2012-08-29. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- "To the Wonder". Film Ratings. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- "2 September". La Biennale di Venezia. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
- "To the Wonder". TIFF. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- "HKIFF Review: To the Wonder / À la Merveille". HK Neo Reviews. Retrieved 2013-03-25.
- Ebert, Roger (6 April 2013). "To the Wonder". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
- Official website
- To the Wonder at the Internet Movie Database
- To the Wonder at Rotten Tomatoes
- Behind the Scenes photos