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To the Wonder [Blu-ray]

2.9 out of 5 stars 196 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Written and directed by Terrence Malick, TO THE WONDER is a romantic drama about men and women grappling with love and its many phases and seasons passion, sympathy, obligation, sorrow and indecision and the way these forces merge together and drift apart, transforming, destroying and reinventing the lives they touch. Starring Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem, this deeply moving visual film intermingles love, nature and spirit. "All things work together for the good."

Product Details

  • Actors: Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem
  • Directors: Terrence Malick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 6, 2013
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00CX7OX6U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,615 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 18, 2013
Format: Amazon Video
Visiting the world of Terrence Malick in many ways must be differentiated from `watching a movie' and that is likely one of the reasons there are so many honest people who love movies who find TO THE WONDER a major disappointment, `a mess', `not a movie' and other responses. That Terrence Malick has a gift of blending film and thought and philosophy and music and silence into a meditation on his views of life, of love, of the human condition is a given. The `story' is nonlinear, given in bits an pieces like the momentary light fireflies offer in Oklahoma nights or the strains of themes from the classical music with which he bathes his quiet moments, themes that begin, echo, go nowhere, and is about those very personal responses to life as it happens to us or as we perceive it has a meaning, a direction, a connection to God.

In view of that it seems a bit odd that Magnolia pictures offers a synopsis of the `plot' and that should be shared here: `Neil (Ben Affleck) is an American traveling in Europe who meets and falls in love with Marina (Olga Kurylenko), an Ukrainian divorcée who is raising her 10-year-old daughter Tatiana (Tatiana Chiine) 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. He takes a job as an environmental inspector and Marina settles into her new life in America with passion and vigor. After a holding pattern, their relationship cools. Marina finds solace in the company of another exile, the Catholic priest Father Quintana (Javier Bardem), who is undergoing a crisis of faith.
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The movie got panned by critics who are not theologically astute but they are wrong. Terrance Malick films can't be seen just once. You have to watch them over and over again to pick up the message. I have only seen the movie once but what I took away from this film was that it was a profound, very profound actually, meditation on love but especially love in a Christian sense. The voice overs referring to "the love that loves us" are a subtle hint, as is the name of the movie. In the movie we learn that the Wonder is Mont St-Michele, one of the most beautiful churches in the world. The Wonder though at an even deeper level is this "love that loves us". While the relationship between Neil and Marina is passionate and powerful at first it eventually fades. Yet while it is white hot we see the world, through Malick's camera lens, in what reviewer Damon Linker calls a transfigured sense. Who has not felt this way when they are in love? There is a deeper point to be made about love though and that comes from Father Quintana (Javier Bardem at his finest). While Neil and Marina struggle with their love, on again and off again, Father Quintana struggles with love at a much deeper level, sacrificial love, the love of Christ. It was these scenes, the ones of Father Quintana working with the poor and the drug addicted on the streets as well as giving communion to prisoners, that really spoke to me. Father Quintana's homilies on love are deep and still have me pondering this love that loves us. Watch this movie, see it sever times, ponder God's Love.
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I am not a Christian (or a theist at all), but this film strikes me as a fascinating and movingly Christian reflection on how its author learned to love. The film's protagonist, Neil (Ben Affleck), is not a 'character' in the film but instead provides the sensibility or subjectivity through which the plot of the film develops. The plot-line is this: Neil thinks he knows how to love, it soon emerges that he doesn't know how to love, then through the course of the film he learns how to love. He learns at last how to love Marina (Olga Kurylenko) partly through consultation with Father Quintana (Javier Bardem), who shares his own struggles with his love-commitment to Jesus Christ.

If you know a bit about Terrence Malick's life, you suspect that these reflections are autobiographical: the 60-something Malick probing how the 30- or 40-something Malick learned to partake in genuine love relations. But that doesn't matter much. The force of the inquiry does not depend on its status as autobiography.

The potential viewer of this film faces two questions: do you want to reflect on how you came, or might someday come, to love? and do you want to reflect on this from a specifically Christian point of view?

As I said, I don't myself share that point of view: that's not how I conceptualize my own learning-how-to-love experiences. But then I didn't learn how to love in Oklahoma either. (I did it, or tried, in Los Angeles, with a woman from farther away than France.) The film's reflections are specific to the experiences of its maker, but they explore a universal human problem.

The film is not entertainment. I aims not to sweep you away from your life for two hours but to plunge you more deeply into it.
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