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Terrence Malick: Roger Ebert — ‘A loving man whose goodness will not be forgotten’

In May 2011, Roger Ebert wrote an entry in his online journal titled “A prayer beneath ‘The Tree of Life’.” It was his meditation about the film he would, one year later, list among the 10 greatest movies of all time, from a director he held in great esteem. But Mr. Ebert’s journal entry that May night was not about lists, it was about life: “Terrence Malick’s new film is a form of prayer. It created within me a spiritual awareness, and made me more alert to the awe of existence. I believe it stands free from conventional theologies, although at its end it has images that will evoke them for some people. It functions to pull us back from the distractions of the moment, and focus us on mystery and gratitude.”

Perhaps appropriately, Mr. Ebert’s final review turned out to be Malick’s latest work, “To the Wonder,” in which he writes: “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.”

Malick, the almost reclusive director, would not comment on his film as the subject of Mr. Ebert’s last review, but through his representative, released the following statement: “[Mr. Malick] was very sorry to hear of Mr. Ebert’s death and remembers him, with deep gratitude, as a man of kindness and generosity, encouraging to all, a loving man whose goodness will not be forgotten by those whose lives he touched.”

“To the Wonder” opens in limited release April 12 and then April 19 in Chicago. You can read Roger Ebert’s review online at www.suntimes.com.



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