Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 41
  2. Negative: 5 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Oliver Lyttelton
    Mar 3, 2013
    91
    A beautiful, hearfelt and raw piece of work.
  2. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Apr 11, 2013
    90
    I found it to be some kind of wonderful, flaws and all. This is one to be taken in like meditation. Clear the mind and let what is in front of you wash over you. Save the contemplation for later.
  3. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Apr 11, 2013
    90
    As with any other movie, it’s all a question of what attitude you carry into the theater, and whether you’re prepared to go where Malick wants to take you. All I can tell you is that once I surrendered to the ebb and flow of Lubezki’s images, the elegiac and almost anti-narrative mode, the sweet-sad blend of romance, eroticism and tragedy and the hypnotic score – which mixes contemporary electronic pop with Berlioz, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Henryk Górecki and Arvo Pärt – I really never wanted it to stop.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Mar 3, 2013
    90
    This is a test, requiring rapt concentration and acute attention, and repaying a hundredfold. For spectators dulled by the midget movies of an arrtstically timid era, the film may be a chore. For those on Malick’s rarified wavelength, it’s a wonder.
  5. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Apr 7, 2013
    88
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Apr 10, 2013
    83
    Still, there’s no doubt that To The Wonder is a fans-only proposition, continuing Malick’s evolution (or devolution, for some) from the narrative grounding of "Badlands" to much more abstract, poeticized notions of the human condition.
  7. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Mar 3, 2013
    83
    To the Wonder renders the familiar terrain of romantic dysfunction on a grand scale. Malick haters may not change their tune, but at least they can admit that To the Wonder maintains a consistent thematic focus.
  8. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Apr 9, 2013
    80
    To the Wonder is arty for sure, but for the first time, its maker is working with anxieties we all feel. Let’s hope this Malick sticks around for a while.
  9. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Apr 7, 2013
    80
    Never before has Malick explored sexuality so openly onscreen, and while the nudity is fairly discreet, the eroticism of flesh cradling flesh, even the gesture of a hand touching a shoulder, turns out to be a natural subject for Lubezki’s exquisitely graceful camerawork.
  10. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Mar 3, 2013
    80
    Less ambitious than The Tree Of Life, To The Wonder remains 100 percent pure, unadulterated Malick, an absorbing, thoughtful, moving meditation on the things that matter.
  11. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Mar 3, 2013
    80
    To The Wonder doesn’t quite live up to the sky-high expectations set by his earlier films. But it’s still a brave, soul-stirring and sensitive work.
  12. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 3, 2013
    80
    At its best, Malick's cinematic rhapsody is glorious; during his uncertain moments, he appears to be repeating himself. But what delight there is in this film.
  13. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Apr 19, 2013
    75
    To the Wonder teeters between experimentation and incoherence. Does it deserve to be seen? Absolutely. Just be aware of what you’re getting into.
  14. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Apr 18, 2013
    75
    Malick is a true searcher, true to his preoccupations and definitions of soulful rhapsody. To the Wonder repeats its central motifs aplenty, yet you may find yourself thinking about life, and living, and love, while sorting through the movie. Even if it drives you nertz.
  15. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Apr 11, 2013
    75
    Typically, To the Wonder seems mostly locked in the thoughts of its characters, whispered so only we can hear, with no more actual back-and-forth dialogue than would cover the back of your ticket stub.
  16. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Apr 9, 2013
    70
    For all the absurdity, there's also something strangely touching about it, maybe because for once Malick has allowed himself to be unsure. To the Wonder is an irresolute piece of work, a sketchbook of a movie, one made by a human being rather than an august master.
  17. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Apr 25, 2013
    67
    Lyrical and gorgeous, it indulges in enough trademark Malickian touches to seem almost a parody of itself.
  18. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Apr 10, 2013
    67
    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.
  19. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Mar 3, 2013
    67
    To the Wonder is distinctly lacking in oomph and, without an emotional connection, without anything interesting happening on the screen, the beauty can only take you so far before the endeavor falls like a house of cards.
  20. Reviewed by: Michael Posner
    Apr 18, 2013
    63
    Apparently, whole layers of the projected storyline did not survive the editing suite. Actors Rachel Weisz, Michael Sheen, Barry Pepper and Amanda Peet were all part of the original script. Their footage ended on the cutting-room floor. Lucky them.
  21. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Apr 15, 2013
    63
    There are moments of pure poetry in the movie but the production as a whole seems overlong and repetitive and takes a detour or two that distract from the aching beauty of the central story.
  22. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Apr 2, 2013
    63
    Throughout To the Wonder, the new and old are incessantly twinned, blurred into a package that suggests an experimental dance piece.
  23. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Apr 11, 2013
    60
    The fine intentions of To the Wonder pave a road to puzzlement, not awe.
  24. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    May 2, 2013
    50
    The movie is intentionally elusive, like a memory you can’t quite fully recall, but the result has all the depth and weight of a greeting card.
  25. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Apr 25, 2013
    50
    In To the Wonder [Malick] doesn’t give us enough to work with, leaving us with a thing of great beauty, but not much more.
  26. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Apr 11, 2013
    50
    Pretty but inert, To the Wonder is a vaporous mystery wrapped in a gauzy enigma — a cinematic riddle that'll appeal principally to those eager for another piece, however tiny, of the puzzle that is Terrence Malick.
  27. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Apr 11, 2013
    50
    "There's nothing here!" screams Romina Mondello - Kurylenko's Euro gal pal, walking the deserted sidewalks of this Anytown, U.S.A. Boy, truer words . . ..
  28. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 11, 2013
    50
    The director’s first real misfire, a meditation on love and lost paradise that starts with breathtaking assurance and slowly crumbles into self-parody.
  29. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Apr 10, 2013
    50
    Although To the Wonder never transported me, personally, to the ecstatic heights the title promises, there is still much here worth one’s engagement.
  30. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Apr 10, 2013
    50
    Malick keeps pushing Affleck to the corner of the frame, as if he's more interested in the women. I found it difficult to maintain interest in anyone. If there's such a thing as a feather that weighs a ton, it's To the Wonder.
  31. 50
    To the Wonder feels like generalized woo-woo—and self-parody.
  32. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Apr 26, 2013
    42
    Is Malick deliberately courting self-parody here? Probably not. That would imply he had a sense of humor.
  33. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Apr 25, 2013
    42
    Affleck has two expressions, a smirk and a scowl. Bardem never changes expression at all: Whatever he’s saying comes out with a dispassionate, hangdog glumness. Perhaps he watched the daily rushes once too often.
  34. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 11, 2013
    40
    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.
  35. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Apr 11, 2013
    40
    It feels like a high-end perfume ad.
  36. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Apr 8, 2013
    40
    The movie is pervaded by a cataclysmic sense of loss, but we don’t need to be chastised with the ideal of Christian love to understand that sex isn’t enough. And someone might tell Malick that beauty isn’t enough, either. Only a major filmmaker could have made To the Wonder, but nothing in it adds up.
  37. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Apr 11, 2013
    38
    Never was a film so visually stunning and so intolerable as To the Wonder.
  38. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Apr 11, 2013
    37
    Clocks in at close to two hours. It feels much longer. By comparison, Malick’s World War II epic “The Thin Red Line” tipped the scales at a whopping 170 minutes. But at least that 1998 film had people shooting at each other. There’s no such excitement here.
  39. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Apr 11, 2013
    30
    I didn’t like the movie at all — found it boring, unintentionally comical, at times even (a word I seldom use) pretentious — but I admire the rest of your work so much that I nonetheless feel the need to defend To the Wonder.
  40. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Mar 3, 2013
    30
    A film that seems drained of life and ideas rather than sustained by them.
  41. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Apr 9, 2013
    0
    Plotless and almost mute, To the Wonder is the kind of fiasco that keeps film-festival programmers salivating and discriminating audiences stampeding toward the exit doors. It’s a simpering yawn that makes "The Tree of Life" seem like an action thriller with Bruce Willis. It is about … nothing.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 61 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 22
  2. Negative: 7 out of 22
  1. Apr 14, 2013
    10
    I loved this movie, and I loved Tree of Life. Amazing to me that some people complain about the plot. Hahahah! This isn't a story, it's a poem and painting set to film. There's no plot. The astounding visual contrasts are presented with very little judgement, it seems to me. Everybody knows Paris is beautiful, but Oklahoma apparently has its own sort of beauty. I saw Tree of Life four times in two weeks, mainly dragging recalcitrant friends along. It got better each time. I'll see this at least twice in the first week, but not planning on taking anyone else. This is better savored alone. Also, I'm really glad Ben Affleck has so thoroughly redeemed himself as a serious artist, and Olga Kurylenko and Javier Bardem were perfect. I don't think there's a more interesting actor than Javier out there right now... Full Review »
  2. Apr 13, 2013
    10
    To the Wonder is actual art in favour of modern arty pizzazz, it is cinematic poetry in place of those "art" films that are petrified at doing anything different, it is uncompromising in its technique, holding up a middle finger to any man who dare say: "No, Malick, stop! Art is bad for us boo! boring! boredom!" The Tree of Life was a vast, monstrous creation that swallowed up the earth and the universe in its vision but it still held tight to certain narrative constraints, and one could almost feel the aching soul of Malick trying to get out, to create a style which was utterly his own, and now he has done it: To the Wonder is less a film than a Renaissance work of art, a modern idealist painting of colours, movement, sensuality and sound: the characters are avatars into which Malick pours his ideas, expressing their hopes and sorrows through speed, walking, running, sunlight, water, air, wind, anything from nature... one has to press pause or constantly replay almost every frame and immerse himself in what it would feel like to be in those places, to hear those sounds... he somehow makes the sound of water so shockingly beautiful, he is a painter let loose in film, who allows his audience to actually feel the beauty of the world, more so than any other living film director. There is no real narrative and there are no characters worth describing we wouldn't criticise a Shakespeare sonnet for lacking in story, or a Da Vinci for telling us very little about the Madonna or the Mona Lisa, in the same way that Malick has gone beyond names or places, the jargon dialogue of famous movie characters that makes them "memorable"; this is what it feels like to be alive, in 1 hour and 52 minutes. Full Review »
  3. Apr 12, 2013
    9
    Beautiful and utterly wonderful, poetry in film. Terrence Malik has yet failed to make a film that is bad, in fact he finds it hard not to make some of the best films ever made.

    To the wonder is a sensation. It's textured and layered with romantic imagery, the minimal dialogue only adds to the beauty and romance of the film.
    Full Review »