What's This?Rooney Mara stars in Terrence Malick's Song to Song
Image: Broadgreen pictures
It might be time for Terrence Malick to learn a new tune.
The first reviews for Song to Song are in, and – as is typical for Malick's recent run of movies – they're all over the place. Depending on whom you ask, the Austin-set romance is either an embarrassing disaster or a life-changing masterpiece.
Either way, the one thing everyone seems to agree on is that Song to Song is Malick at his Malick-iest. In other words, expect impressionistic plotting, sun-dappled scenery, and many, many shots of attractive people twirling, crying and laughing.
Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, and Natalie Portman play a quartet of characters in and around the Austin music scene. They forever seem to be falling in and out of bed with each other, when they're not getting tangled up with the likes of Cate Blanchett and Bérénice Marlohe.
Mashable's own Josh Dickey was... not a fan, to put it mildly:
Terrence Malick apparently isn't making movies anymore, he's making elaborate excuses to put our hottest movie stars into extremely awkward sex-fetish scenarios that are about as titillating as invasive dentistry.
Only two reasons I can think for why he might be doing this: To thoroughly embarrass famous people without anyone realizing it, or to gratify his own bizarro, wildly inaccurate notions about how human beings sate their carnal desires. If it's the former, I admire his diabolical plan, but it must be stopped; if the latter, it's just weird and icky and also must be stopped. Either way, Terrence Malick must be stopped.
Joe McGovern at Entertainment Weekly also got the knives out:
In terms of content and meaningfulness, Terrence Malick’s Song to Song is the cinematic equivalent of a Trump press conference. Incoherent, disconnected, self-interrupting, obsessed with pointless minutiae and crammed full of odd, limp stabs at profundity from a closed-off man in his 70s who apparently has no ability to edit or accept constructive criticism. Malick, too, still inspires a passionate minority of hardcore devotees who will defend everything he does, no matter how inept or ludicrous, out of some bizarre sense of base loyalty towards the man who made Days of Heaven 39 years ago. Even for those groupies, this new humiliating wreck of a movie—the reclusive director’s worst ever—presents a test of will.
Variety's Peter Debruge thought it might be time for Malick to take a break:
It pains me to say it, but Malick might want to consider another lengthy hiatus. Rushed into production mere months after his nearly-self-parodic, Hollywood-set “Knight of Cups,” “Song to Song” finds the maestro in broken-record mode, rehashing more or less the same themes against the backdrop of the Austin music scene — merely the latest borderline-awful Malick movie that risks to undermine the genius and mystery of his best work.
But it's not all bad! ScreenCrush's Erin Whitney thought this was Malick's strongest work in years:
The power of the movie lies in those snapshots, moments that could be a page ripped out of anyone’s story – the moment when you found out a loved one died, when you first locked eyes with someone, or a perfect romance became tainted with doubt. Malick has found a way to translate how a familiar song has the ability to transport you back to a particular time and conjure a specific set of emotions. Whatever he’s been exploring over the past few years pays off here. Song to Song is far from his strongest film, but it’s his best and most exciting work since The Tree of Life. If you’re willing to practice some patience and let Malick’s images wash over you, you might just find something magnificent here.
And finally, The Independent's Christopher Hooton declared Song to Song "a masterpiece" in his five-star rave:
The extent to which you’ll enjoy/resonate with Song to Song is, I think, entirely dependent on what you put into it and your own experience of life. Extremely happy-go-lucky types may find it alien or melodramatic, but I think most people will find recognisable stuff here, even if realising that is hard to come to terms with. If you know the feeling of needing to cry but not being able to, you will probably enjoy submerging yourself in this film which is just saturated with that feeling.
Song to Song will be in select theaters starting March 17.Topics: Entertainment, Movies, Michael Fassbender, natalie portman, rooney mara, Ryan Gosling, song-to-song, terrence malick