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To the Wonder Review Critics


Dave White Profile

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Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    A film that seems drained of life and ideas rather than sustained by them.

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  • 38

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Never was a film so visually stunning and so intolerable as To the Wonder.

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  • 40

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Having been deeply moved — though often exasperated — by Terrence Malick's previous film, "The Tree of Life," I don't have the heart to belabor the failings of his new one, which is depressed and deeply depressing. The only thing that's wonderful in To the Wonder is the imagery.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Through the character of a saddened priest, Malick seems to be saying that the reason for our breakups, for our fragmented lives and relationships, is that we can no longer see God. If we could, we would be whole again. That may be true, but in To the Wonder, it's Terrence Malick who isn't letting his characters be whole.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    There will be many who find To the Wonder elusive and too effervescent. They'll be dissatisfied by a film that would rather evoke than supply. I understand that, and I think Terrence Malick does, too. But here he has attempted to reach more deeply than that: to reach beneath the surface, and find the soul in need.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 16+

Beautifully filmed romance chooses style over substance.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that experimental director Terrence Malick's To the Wonder is a highly stylized examination of love, focusing on a couple who learn that living and being together is harder than falling for each other. Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko meet in France, her home, then move to Oklahoma, where he lives and works, and try to make a life together. The film has almost no dialog (so strong language isn't an issue); instead, the story is told through short, moving scenes narrated by voiceovers. There are some intense arguments that sometimes move people to destroy household objects, as well as some brief nude sequences (breasts), lots of loving embraces/caresses, and occasional drinking.

  • Families can talk about the way that To the Wonder is presented -- with voiceovers instead of dialog, and short, unconnected scenes. Does this make the story harder to follow? More or less effective?
  • Why do you think the central relationship falls apart? How does this compare to other romantic dramas you've seen on TV and in the movies?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The film posits that it's hard to make love last and thrive, no matter how bright the flame burns at the start. The central couple struggles to remain connected, but their intense feelings of affection sometimes turn to equally intense anger. It's honest and raw.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The couple at the center of this film is deeply in love, yet they both have flaws that threaten the relationship, and they both make mistakes.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Several intense arguments between couples, including yelling and breaking household objects.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Many scenes show men and women gently caressing each other, embracing, and sometimes cuddling while lying together clothed. A few sequences show them making love, including a brief glimpse of bare breasts.

  • language false0

    Language: Not applicable

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: A few brief glimpses of consumer products in the background of scenes -- i.e. one that's set in a grocery store.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some scenes show adults drinking casually, in bars and at home.