Terrence Malick’s To The Wonder Reveals Detailed Synopsis

Terrence Malick is like waiting waiting for that bus that never turns up , you wait for ever for it, then it turns up with 2 more behind it. We waited a long time for Tree Of Life and a year on since it’s release we have 2 more films coming and this Sunday  To The Wonder his next film will make its world premier and we have a fully detailed synopsis for the film.

I’ll admit I was never a fan of Tree Of Life, it was visually beautiful but that was that for me but after a career that you can count all the films he’s made in one hand it was great to see him back and new 3 films in 2 years even more intriguing.One of the projects is still untitled starring Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Cate Blanchett, all we know about it, it’s a ‘untitled romantic drama’ which in generic terms means one thing but in Terrence Malick film it can mean a whole lot of different things. No for his ‘mysterious’ romantic drama To The Wonder we have known nothing apart from who is or who maybe in the film but it’s ready to be shown to the world in Italy this weekend then in Toronto, it’s time to find out a little more.

Below is the films very detailed synopsis which are taking from the Venice festival notes:


TO THE WONDER, written and directed by Terrence Malick, is a romantic drama centered on Neil, a man who is torn between two loves: Marina, the European woman who came to United States to be with him, and Jane, the old flame he reconnects with from his hometown. In TO THE WONDER, Malick explores how love and its many phases and seasons – passion, sympathy, obligation, sorrow, indecision – can transform, destroy, and reinvent lives.

As TO THE WONDER opens, Neil and Marina are together on the French island of Mont St. Michel – known in France as The Wonder of the Western World (Merveille de l’Occident) – and invigorated by feelings of being newly in love. Neil, an aspiring writer, has left the United States in search of a better life, leaving behind a string of unhappy affairs. Looking into Marina’s eyes as the Abbey looms in the distance, Neil is certain he has finally found the one woman he can love with commitment. He makes a vow to be true to this woman alone.

Marina, quiet and beautiful, with flashes of a mischievous humor, is divorced and the mother of a 10-year-old daughter, Tatiana. At 16, Marina left the Ukraine for Paris without a cent to her name. There, she married a Frenchman who abandoned her after just two years, leaving her alone with Tatiana in a studio apartment. Marina was forced to work a variety of temporary jobs to make her way. Having nearly given up hope, Marina is overcome with joy to be in love with Neil, her salvation from an unhappy future.

Two years later, Neil and Marina are living in a small town in Oklahoma, close to where Neil grew up. Neil, having given up his hopes of becoming a writer, has taken a job as an environmental inspector. Neil is happy with his work, but his love for Marina cools as she, for her part, is frustrated by the holding pattern she feels she is in with Neil. She fears her youth – and happiness – are slipping away. In spite of her anxieties about Neil, Marina initially feels at home in Oklahoma, embraced by the open space and sky, and soothed by the sounds that come from the wind harp that animates breezes into songs.

Seeking advice, Marina turns to another exile in the community, a Catholic priest named Quintana. We learn that Father Quintana has come to grapple with his own dilemmas, as he harbors doubts about his vocation. He no longer feels the ardor he knew in the first days of his faith, and wonders if he ever will again.

Professional life throws Neil into conflict as well, when he discovers that a smelting operation in town is polluting the soil and water and threatening the health of future generations. His concerns fail to persuade his neighbors, who depend on the smelter for their livelihoods. Under pressure to keep quiet, Neil must once again weigh the consequences of his actions.

Neil’s doubts about Marina intensify. This, coupled with the fact that Marina’s visa is soon to expire, leads her to return to France with her daughter. In her absence, Neil reconnects with Jane, an old friend. As the two of them fall deeply in love, Neil finds this new relationship far less complicated. Yet when word comes to him that Marina has fallen on hard times and her daughter has gone to live with her father and refuses to have anything more to do with her, he finds himself gripped by a sense of responsibility for her wellbeing, and arranges for her return to the United States.

Neil’s entanglements with the two women in his life, and Father Quintana’s struggle with his faith, force them both to consider different kinds of love. Should the commitment they each made be undertaken as a duty, sometimes full of effort? Or should we accept that love often changes, and doesn’t always last? Can sorrow bind lovers more tightly than joy?

Like his previous film very loose so not really much on the spoiler level though everyone has their own level to when things are spoiled, even Ben Affleck follows those notes with his own thoughts:

“The film feels to me like more a memory of a life than a literal story in real time of someone’s life, the way movies more commonly are. This pastiche of impressionistic moments, skipping across the character’s life and moving in a nonlinear way, mirror, in my mind, the way one remembers one’s life. It’s a little hypnotic and you’re a little bit in a daze — it’s more fluid than real life is.”

The film has been in the editing suite and many scenes as well many of the cast have found themselves not even in the film like Rachel Weisz, Michael Sheen, and Barry Pepper but are we surprise as this is a Terrence Malick film  he enjoys cutting. Talking of cutting there is even a rumour that Ben Affleck’s on screen time might have been severely cut too how true they are we don’t know however the amount of time Sean Penn had in Tree Of Life might resemble Affleck’s time with To The Wonder.

Above is only the tip of the iceberg over at this posts source The Film Stage they reveal  Malick’s thoughts on location of the film Brateville, Oklahoma , the heavy use of classical music in the soundtrack.