In Final Review, Roger Ebert Finds Beauty in Sparse 'To the Wonder'

Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
 

The Chicago-Sun Times has published the final review from its longtime critic Roger Ebert.

When Ebert died at age 70 Thursday, his blistering critique of the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host was his most recently published, leading it to be incorrectly identified in some media reports as his final review.

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But on Saturday, the Sun-Times published Ebert’s review of Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, along with an editorial note reading: “The following is the last review written by Roger Ebert. Appropriately it’s a review of a film by a director Mr. Ebert held in great esteem: Terrence Malick.”

In his 3.5 star review the film starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko, Ebert wrote that he initially struggled to come to terms with the film’s sparse dialogue and lack of back story for its characters. But he ultimately concluded perhaps this was for the best. Read an excerpt below:

“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?

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Ebert’s funeral is to take place Monday in Chicago, with a memorial service to follow on April 11. In addition, the previously planned Ebertfest film festival will occur April 17-21 in Champaign, Ill.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic died after battling cancer. On April 3, he took a "leave of presence" from the Sun-Times after revealing what he thought was a fracture was cancer and that he was undergoing radiation treatments.

To the Wonder opens in limited release April 12.

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