You shall love, whether you like it or not.
A more conventional film would have assigned a plot to these characters and made their motivations more clear. Malick, who is surely one of the most romantic and spiritual of filmmakers, appears almost naked here before his audience, a man not able to conceal the depth of his vision.
“Well,” I asked myself, “why not?” Why must a film explain everything? Why must every motivation be spelled out? Aren’t many films fundamentally the same film, with only the specifics changed? Aren’t many of them telling the same story? Seeking perfection, we see what our dreams and hopes might look like. We realize they come as a gift through no power of our own, and if we lose them, isn’t that almost worse than never having had them in the first place?
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. (This was the last movie review Roger Ebert filed.)
(…) The man who makes a mistake can repent. But the man who hesitates, who does nothing, who buries his talent in the earth…with him, he[God] can do nothing.
(…) I feel so close to you…that I could almost touch you. There is always this invisible something…that I feel so strongly…which ties us so tightly together. I love this feeling… even if it makes me cry sometimes… (To the Wonder)