April 8th, 2013
01:59 PM ET
The last film Roger Ebert filed a review for was also one that he enjoyed.
On April 6, two days after he died at age 70, Ebert's critique of Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder" was published to his website, Rogerebert.com.
Starring Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem, Malick's "To the Wonder" is billed as a romantic drama, one that centers on Affleck's Neil and Kurylenko's Marina, a couple who fall in love in France and then move to Oklahoma. There, Ebert writes, trouble arises as McAdams' Jane renews her bond with Neil, who was once in love with her. The film also introduces Bardem's Father Quintana, a European priest there who's facing questions of faith.
In his trademark style, Ebert reviews "To the Wonder" with an accessible honesty, frankly admitting that he at first wondered if he was "missing something" when Malick's film began. The actors are less the "stars" of the story as much as they are models, and while there is dialogue, it's "dreamy and half-heard," Ebert says.
But the power of Ebert's work was that his status as "the everyman's critic" didn't make his writing was pedestrian, and this review is no different.
"A more conventional film would have assigned a plot to these characters and made their motivations more clear," Ebert writes, but he found himself in the end won over by Malick's offering. "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."
Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half stars.
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