Ebert’s final review turns of to be To the Wonder, the latest feature from director Terrence Malick. To the Wonder stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, and Javier Bardem, and is slated for an April 12th release.
Ebert enjoyed the film, giving it a positive review and 3 and 1/2 stars.
Here’s a snippet of the review, which is classic Ebert through and through:
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.
Ebert has been kind to Malick’s films in the past. He loved his last film, The Tree of Life, awarding it four stars. He also enjoyed 2005’s The New World and 1999’s The Thin Red Line, giving those films four and three stars, respectively.
For another great Ebert review, check out his “Great Movies” essay on Malick’s 1978 classic Days of Heaven.
Over on rogerebert.com, you can also find some select remembrances of Ebert, along with a statement from his wife Chaz. Plus, an archive of all of his reviews – most of which (especially the Great Movies essays) are essential reading for anyone who’s serious about the movies.