In a career that’s spanned over four decades, Terrence Malick has only released six films. So it’s kind of a big deal that his seventh, To the Wonder, has already debuted to festival audiences in Venice and Toronto, just a year after The Tree of Life dazzled (and baffled) viewers around the world. Slashfilm reports that To the Wonder, starring Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, and Olga Kurylenko, will debut in 2013 via Magnolia Pictures. But don’t get excited about seeing Malick’s generally gorgeous cinematography on the big screen unless you live in a major city — as the site points out, Magnolia tends to release its acquisitions to just a few theaters, leaving most viewers to catch them on VOD.
Luckily for fans who won’t get to see To the Wonder in theaters, critics who have caught the film at festivals note that it’s much smaller in scale than most Malick productions. Affleck and Kurylenko play a married couple whose relationship begins to fall apart soon after a visit to Normandy’s Mont Saint-Michel. Despite pointing out that the movie was booed in Venice, Eric Kohn at Indiewire gives it a B+ and describes it as a sort of companion piece to The Tree of Life: “the comparatively muted To the Wonder delivers a similar collage of memories and desires in more easily digestible fragments.” At the Guardian, Peter Bradshaw agrees that it’s not nearly as ambitious as Malick’s previous film but calls it “a bold and often beautiful movie, unfashionably and unironically concerned with love and God, and what will happen to us in the absence of either.”