The trailer for Terrence Malick’s ode to Austin, Song To Song, dropped this past weekend, and it looks incredible.

To start, what a fucking cast. For Ryan Gosling, this looks like the film La La Land should have been, where we get to hear the beauty of his voice and watch a wonderful romance, stripped away from Damien Chazelle’s misplaced nostalgia and his character free of the silly jazz obsession that made much of that film unpalatable to some critics and audience members. Rooney Mara looks amazing as she always does, and it’s cool that she’ll be an active participant in the music aspect of the story, as opposed to just being relegated to “musician’s girlfriend” status. We’ve got to wonder what Waffle House employs Natalie Portman, because we’d buy waffles there every day. Michael Fassbender’s playing against his Frank role, and it’s nice to see him back in the charismatic asshole saddle.

All in all, it looks fucking gorgeous and deeply moving. For whatever reason, Malick only seems to grab critical acclaim when he’s focused on the past: All of his works set in the present day (his last three narrative films, to be honest) haven’t been well-received by critics, who have a sort of false ideal of the man and what his work’s supposed to be. His beautiful compositions and poetic visuals have always held a current of naturalism beneath them, and with his last work, he’s brought that to the forefront.

We guess Song To Song falls within the same purview. If you’re expecting perpetual beauty along the lines of Days of Heaven or The Thin Red Line, you probably won’t find it here. If you’re looking for the incredible introspection of The Tree of Life or To the Wonder, you’re probably in good company.

Regardless, it’s more Malick, who has spoiled us these past couple of years with a string of steady releases (remember, he took a 20-year break between Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line), and that’ll automatically push it to the front of our most anticipated films of the year.

Song To Song doesn’t have a release date yet, but it will be premiering at South-By-Southwest in two weeks.

 

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