On Saturday night, K and I went to the Ottawa ByTowne Cinema and watched Terrence Malick's movie "To The Wonder". The story is existentially similar to "The Tree of Life" but not as sad. At the end of the movie, there was no applause from the audience, just a silent moment of reflection and perhaps a few sighs of relief that the movie was over.
If you like explosions and car-chases, don't bother to spend your money and time. But if you like beautiful cine-photography and enjoy abstract stories of the touchy feely type, you may want to go see it with your wondering cap on.
Related link: 生命樹 / The Tree of Life
The following is from Wikipedia:
《愛是神奇》（英語：To the Wonder）是一齣2012年製作的美國愛情片。由《生命樹》導演泰倫斯·馬力克執導同時兼任編劇。電影於第69屆威尼斯電影節期間首映並參予競賽。主要演員有《ARGO–救參任務》導演兼男主角賓·艾佛力，《新鐵金剛之量子殺機》奧嘉·古莉寧高、《情迷午夜巴黎》女主角麗素·麥雅當絲及於《新鐵金剛：智破天凶城》飾演反派角色之查維爾·巴頓。
美國人尼爾(賓·艾佛力 飾)到法國旅行時遇上一名於巴黎生活的烏克蘭人單親母親瑪琳娜(奧嘉·古莉寧高 飾)。當兩人到法國的聖米歇爾山旅行時，兩人沉醉在他們的浪漫旅程，尼爾同時又對瑪琳娜作出了承諾，並帶瑪琳娜及瑪琳娜10歲女兒一同返家鄉俄克拉荷馬州生活。但他們到美國生活後的關係開始冷卻……
(Source: Wikipedia 《愛是神奇》)
The following is from the Ottawa ByTowne Cinema website:
Just two years after The Tree Of Life – hardly more than an eye-blink in terms of his usual production-rate – Terrence Malick has returned with something which could be seen as a B-side or companion piece to that film. It is a bold and often beautiful movie, unfashionably and unironically concerned with love and God, and what will happen to us in the absence of either.
It is the story of a love affair doomed to failure, or at any rate doomed never quite to succeed. Ben Affleck is Neil, a stolid, handsome American engineer who has a passionate relationship in Paris with Marina (Olga Kurylenko), a sensual free spirit. Their love achieves an almost ecstatic state of happiness when they visit Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy and are all but overwhelmed by its islanded beauty. (‘We climbed the steps to the wonder,’ recalls Marina.) Easy-going, good-natured Neil gets on just fine with Marina’s 10-year-old daughter from a previous relationship and offers to bring them over to live with him in picket-fence middle America. But transplanted to the U.S., their relationship begins to go wrong and Neil becomes aware of a childhood friend, Jane (Rachel McAdams). In parallel with this, there is a priest, Father Quintana, played by Javier Bardem, whose consciousness begins to guide the movie in its American phase, and whose crisis of faith colours how we see the painful trial of Neil and Marina’s happiness.The locals don’t know quite how to take Marina, but it is specifically Neil’s work that brings him into conflict with the community. He appears to be investigating soil subsidence and problems with the water table in the surrounding neighbourhood, issues that might affect the viability of the whole district. People nearby tell him he is making them nervous; one says that even the dog is behaving strangely. Despite the vivid gorgeousness that Malick discovers everywhere, there is a fundamental problem with the American soil itself – a real crisis of faith – and Neil and Marina’s existence is wilting. Malick may intend a visual rhyme with the earlier sequence at Mont Saint-Michel, in which the couple were running around in the squelching mud which seemed to ripple and bounce under their feet. There, the effect was playful and sensual, now the soil’s treachery is disturbing.
Marina’s visa can’t last for ever; a decision about marriage can’t be delayed as they both begin to doubt if America is really for them, and here is where Jane enters the story and Malick conjures a sublime sequence in which a kind of alternative-reality love affair is played out. Would a monogamous commitment be an affirmation of trust in God and in the mysterious beauty of life, which would generate its own success – or just be a terrible mistake?
– Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian