Terrence Malick is enjoying a fit of productivity, and judging from the results he's either had a major epiphany or has been having a crisis of existence while dabbling with psychotropic drugs. As readers of this blog likely already know, in the span of forty years, Malick has released a mere six films. The fifth was 2011's breathtaking The Tree of Life, my pick for the best picture of that year and easily one of the most stunning (aesthetically and experientially) of the last decade. With Tree of Life, Malick's already rather floaty interests seemed to officially break free from the confines of traditional narrative. He'd always been an impressionistic director, one interested in capturing an ethereal vision of the Earthly -wind blowing through a field, a watercolor sky, sunlight broken by patterned leaves- and To the Wonder is a romance in theory, but more of a cataloging of picture postcards in practice. The film is Malick's first of a whopping four films slated for release by the end of 2014, and where The Tree of Life read as the director's philosophical dissertation on the relationship between man and the cosmos, To the Wonder is something different: bite sized, enclosed, beautiful, and a little empty.