Terrence Malick's To The Wonder, first of an oncoming pack of new Terrence Malick films, now has its first trailer, and so far it looks very much like a companion to Tree of Life. But where that film was about childhood and benefited from dinosaurs and the Big Bang, this film is all about love and must get by without such obvious attractions. Terrence Malick's rampant pre-teen fanbase will be disappointed.
Against a backdrop of beautiful, lush imagery unanchored to narrative, we hear deep and meaningful voiceover by Javier Bardem, equally unanchored to narrative. While that may sound ponderous and awful, it's probably going to be all kinds of stupendous. To the Wonder is a must-see, either way.
The film played the Venice Film Festival where it was booed and the Toronto Film Festival where reviews ranged from hateful to middling with very few ecstatic write-ups. Most people consider it a smaller, less exciting sibling to Tree of Life. The film will be released into American theaters in April, so we'll all have our chance to offer our ratings then.
I'm struck by how much this is reminding me of the two trailers we've seen for Shane Carruth's Upstream Color. Both put storytelling aside to focus instead on imagery and raw theme. In both cases that theme is love, though To the Wonder seems maybe a bit more objective about things. It will be interesting to see how both compare when they finally come out.