First Glance: “A Hidden Life”

A new Terrence Malick film brings a lot of excitement and just as many questions. He’s a filmmaker who manages to provoke a wide range of responses due to his distinctly Malickian (how’s that for a word) style of moviemaking. I’m prone to love much of what he does even though some of his most recent work missing their marks.

His latest “A Hidden Life” has me more excited for a Malick film than I have been in several years. He tells the story of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian conscientious objector who refused to fight for Hitler’s Third Reich during World War II. The new trailer shows Malick exploring the ideas of faith, morality, and oppression. And of course we get glimpses of the visual beauty this film is guaranteed to have.

The trailer hits all the right notes for me. I can’t wait to see it when it lands in theaters December 13th. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

14 thoughts on “First Glance: “A Hidden Life”

  1. If Terrence Malick makes a movie about a man contemplating life and the existence of life while he’s sitting on a toilet for 4 hours. YOU RIGHT I WILL GO SEE IT!!!!!!!

    • I know his trailers always look intriguing, but I find this particular one captivating. I am so excited for this. The story looks great, the images are stunning…100% onboard.

      • I heard it is a return to a more traditional narrative as his previous films didn’t exactly have scripts as Malick made those films on the fly and just let things go as they were more based on his personal life.

      • That’s what I’m hearing too. I’m guessing it being based on a true person/story helps him keep a more traditional narrative. I’m so excited.

  2. I’d be interested in reading your thoughts when this comes out. I caught this at Cannes but was very disappointed with Hidden Life. Malick isn’t really a political filmmaker, and I’m not sure if his attempt at making a sociopolitical film really works (though I could change my mind when I watch this again).

    It’s strange, because from what I’ve read the people who seem to like this the most are the Malick agnostics, whereas those who like his post-Tree of Life work (like myself) found it underwhelming .

    • “Sociopolitical”? Ugh. That’s not what I’m looking for in a Malick film and hadn’t heard this was that kind of movie.

      Me, I adore The Tree of Life and really liked To the Wonder. But since then I’ve been pretty let down. Still really anxious for this and hoping the political angle isn’t too sloppy.

      • It’s not incredibly sociopolitical in the same way an Alain Resnais or Godard picture is; Malick more or less focuses on Franz Jägerstätter’s role as a conscientious objector during WWII. But Malick doesn’t really examine Jägerstätter’s motives or inner turmoil, nor is there much exposition on the Nazis’ atrocities. Plus this may be the first film by Malick where at least a third of the movie is composed of interior shots.

      • Interesting. The trailer frames it as a man struggling to stay true to his convictions in light of push back from the church and those supporting the Nazi war effort. That sounds compelling. It is concerning to hear that he doesn’t go very deep into it. It seems like some real meaty material.

      • It does explore that; it might be Malick’s most self-reflective film in criticizing the church’s support of the Nazi party, but doesn’t quite go as deep as something like Paul Schrader’s First Reformed did last year. It was compelling at parts but I couldn’t get into it as a whole.

        On the other hand, Malick did make a rare public appearance at the film’s premiere (though still didn’t give any interviews).

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