To The Wonder (2013)
Terrence Malick, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar who has taught philosophy at MIT, made five films in roughly forty years. To The Wonder follows his 2011 film The Tree of Life, which won the Palme d'Or for best picture at the Cannes festival. The two are quite similar in form and content. A young couple falls in love in Paris, then move back to the man's home in Oklahoma amongst tract homes, oil derricks and environmental degradation. So how does one nourish love across the long haul? Except for the whispery voice overs, the characters in the film almost never speak. This is a film of images, not linear narrative. We never learn anyone's name. Javier Bardem plays a priest who struggles with all the pain and sorrow he experiences: "All I see is failure, destruction, and ruin." The last line of the movie affirms the final triumph of love and beauty amidst life's suffering: "Love that loves us, thank you." If you liked Tree of Life, this is Malick at his spiritual best.