While Terrence Malick's attempts at cinematic poetry are to be admired, his increasing desire for seeking spiritual solace is becoming somewhat pretentious. This film opens in Paris, where we meet up with the lovers, aspiring writer Neil (Ben Affleck) and ballet dancer Marian (Olga Kurylenko) Then the action shifts as the pair wander off to marvel at Mont Saint Michel.
Cut to the suburbs of Oklahoma where Neil now works as an engineer and Marian and her daughter are excited by the modernity of it all only to become bored with materialism. Neil has an affair with the stereotypical compliant blonde with ranch and horses (Rachel McAdams), only for Marian to return and complicate matters.
It's a male wish-fulfilment film, where the stoical, taciturn man simply gets on with things while the neurotic women voice and vent their frustrations to the point of self-abuse.
The only other major male is the local priest (Javier Bardem) who's forever in a state of doubt given the godforsaken place he exists in - and the locals' insanity. It's all so tastefully produced, even when it gets down and dirty as the source of wonder is tracked down. Wonder if Malick has ever considered the terrible beauty of the grotesque?