Terrence Malick's 'To the Wonder' Gets Mixed Reactions at Venice Film Fest

Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams

Some reviewers call the film 'disappointing,' while some other brand it 'disaster' following its Venice premiere, from which Malick himself was elusively absent to work on other project.
Despite its starry cast ensemble, Terrence Malick's latest drama "To the Wonder" couldn't win the heart of some movie critics. Premiered at the 2012 Venice Film Festival on Sunday, September 2, the romantic movie drew mixed reactions from reviewers. Some of them even dubbed it "disappointing."

Malick and the A-list actors of the movie were noticeably absent at the screening event. The director has been busy working on "Voyage of Time" and another yet-to-be-titled project. Ben Affleck and Javier Bardem were also said to be busy with each of their new gigs.

Still, actresses Olga Kurylenko and Romina Mondello, as well as producers Nicolas Gonda and Sarah Green were on hand to represent and discuss the movie during the formal event. Kurylenko gushed that Malick was a director who has great connection with his actors.

"He would tell me, throw away the words, don't speak, move them," she recalled. "Sometimes silence is stronger than words. I think that is what is remarkable about him. He is able to tell you the story, to give you the emotions, through the body, through the silence... You don't need the words. The message is still perceived, you still feel it in your gut."

"To the Wonder" itself is a romantic drama which focuses on a man who reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage to a European woman falls apart. Following the Venice screening, some critics gave relatively negative reviews on the film, as highlighted by We Got This Covered.

Adam Woodward of U.K.'s Little White Lies wrote, "TO THE WONDER Syrupy and symphonic. A twig snapped straight off TREE OF LIFE. Affleck okay. Kurylenko's character v. annoying. #Venice2012." Critic Beatrice Behn tweeted, "To The Wonder by Terrence #Malick is nothing more than atrocious left-overs of Tree of Life. Like a big 'f** you' to the audience #venezia69."

Another reviewer Damon Wise commented, "T Malick's To The Wonder: God that was boring," while John Bleasdale stressed, "To the Wonder very disappointing #Venice69 Malik does melodrama and makes his truly bad film." Farah Nayeri added, "Terrence Malick, what happened? 'To the Wonder' a disappointing survey of love, with lead actress an ex-model...letdown. #venezia69."

"To the Wonder is The Tree of Love - similar wispy, whispery musings applied to dull marriage drama. Can't reason away God factor this time," wrote Dave Calhoun. Meanwhile, Marco Duse, tweeted, "#venezia69 #venice69 Terrence Malick's TO THE WONDER: The Tree of Life leftovers are predictably laughable and unwatchable. A true disaster."

The special screening of "To the Wonder" marked the second high-profile premiere of a U.S. film at the Italian film festival. Over the weekend, Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" was screened at the event to relatively positive reviews. This year's Venice Film Festival will run through September 8.

"To the Wonder" Venice Film Festival Premiere Photos:

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