Ebert's Final Review Is Posted
When Roger Ebert died last week at the age of 70, several movie columnists assumed that his final review was the one that was last published -- of the film adaptation of Stephanie Meyer's The Host. Only two days earlier Ebert had revealed that he was again battling cancer, and at least one writer, Kyle Smith of the New York Post, wondered why Ebert had even bothered. If you're in the final days of your life, should you spend a couple of hours on The Host? he asked. It now turns out that The Host was not the final film reviewed by Ebert. On Saturday, his newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times, posted his review of Terrence Malick's To the Wonder. In it he wrote that the film is composed mostly of dreamy scenes, like snatches of memories. There is no conventional plot -- something that Ebert acknowledges that he missed. 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? ... 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. Many writers, the Post's Smith among them, will no doubt conclude that it's a good movie and a good review to go out with.