The only thing left for me to ponder in Terence Malick’s latest meditation on preponderance, To The Wonder (a contemporary love story of an Okie and a Eurotrashy ditz with happy feet from Paris), is where exactly in France is that fairytale castle surrounded by mushy sandy waters? And why the fuck would they settle down in the badlands of Oklahoma instead?
Well, turns out that castle is Mont Saint-Michel, in the lower region of Normandy that dates back to the 10th century. But as far as to why they (or anyone for that matter) would want to live in a newly built two story house in Oklahoma without a fucking washer and dryer? Golly, I still couldn’t tell you. And that’s probably the most enduring mystery of the film. If I had to guess, it had something to do with Ben Affleck’s job there – walking around with a picnic cooler surveying the land for god knows what when he’s not busy chasing his wife (Olga Kurylenko) through wheat fields and smelling buffalo chips. Which is probably why everyone is so loopy and dizzy and suffers from lymes disease. That being said – as if we didn’t already know Olga is not the greatest actress, we now know she sure shit can’t fucking dance either. And while Ben may not be the greatest dancer he sure shit can’t fucking act without his beard – besides the scene where he wears a lampshade on his head. To be fair, Malick finds more poetry in the visual silence of sheer curtains blowing in the wind and adults jumping up and down on beds then good old fashion dialogue.
After watching those boring ass lovebirds, Rachel McAdams is definitely a breath of fresh air as she radiates like she were in a Carhartt/Sundance catalogue, unconvincingly playing a ranch handler with not a speck of dirt or grime on her. Still, not a bad rebound for Ben.
As for priest Javier Bardem – he is either mumbling to himself or to Jesus. I’m not really sure. But the scene when Olga goes to him for confession is truly a revelation, in that it’s so private that there’s no way I could tell you what was revealed and neither could Malick. You just have to go see the movie yourself to come up with your own conclusions but I’m telling y’all right now your time will be better spent at the local laundromat instead of watching them do theirs.
Considering Roger Ebert gave this a thumbs up you have to wonder if he knew this was likely his last review and therefore took comfort in the Javier’s sermon of “God to the left, God to the right…” – whereas I’d have to give it a thumbs down because all I see are clowns to the left of me and jokers to the right and here I am stuck in the middle. But till then Roger, please save me an aisle seat…