To the Wonder 3.0 stars

To the Wonder movie poster

Director Terrence Malick turns his camera on the transcendent character of love - an admittedly difficult trick. Love isn't as easy to catch on film as, say, lovers (Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko). But Malick has an eye for turning external landscapes into signposts of the interior life: the island abbey of Mont Saint-Michel and the muck that surrounds it signifying the ecstatic rise of love and the mundane sludge that grounds it. (More troubling: the couple moves to Oklahoma and finds that the sludge is poisoned.) Even the lovers serve to point us toward their inner selves: the camera shows Affleck as a stone slab of a man, while it sends Kurylenko beating against him like waves on a cliff. Guidance comes via Javier Bardem as a parish priest struggling to find God even as he points the way. Allusive and elusive, it's also crazily beautiful. 2012.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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