Terrence Malick‘s newest film Song to Song finally premiered at SXSW in Austin last night, but was mostly met with negative reviews.


The film, which stars Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara as up-and-coming musicians, was completed nearly six years ago. It was filmed and set in Austin, Texas, with the director attempting to capture the music scene of the so-called Live Music Capital of the World.

Unfortunately, most critics don’t see much of Austin in the film. “This movie about Austin features not one stout, bearded dude in an Empire Strikes Back T-shirt – and that makes it damn lie,” writes The Guardian‘s Jordan Hoffman. “Don’t be fooled, SXSW fans,” adds Mashable’s Josh Dickey. “Song to Song says about as much about the Austin music scene as The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift says about the Austin music scene.”

Many were upset about the “Los Angeles-ization of Austin,” saying the film offered a shallow look at perhaps an outsider’s perspective of the city.

That’s not to say that not everyone hated it. Christopher Hooton of The Independent loved the film, giving it a perfect 5/5 stars. “The notion of the ‘camera as a character’ is cliché, but if it were one here it would simultaneously be a drunkard lost on the way to the canapé table, a fan with reverntially documenting a star with an iPhone, and God himself,” he writes.

Michael Fassbender stars as a “toxic” music producer and Natalie Portman as a waitress. Christian Bale was originally slated to play the music producer in Fassbender’s place, but he, along with Benicio del Toro and Haley Bennett, was cut out of the film.

Not to mention that the original cut of the film was eight hours long. “Os this going to be a miniseries?” asked Malick. “We have enough to make a different movie.”

Dickey was very straightforward in his dislike of the film, commenting on just how Malick-heavy the film ended up. “Here’s where it all devolves into a muddled pastiche of Malick clichés: gorgeous nature shots, hissy-whispering nonsensical voice-over, and his latest kick, which is two movie stars — pick a combination, any combination — in a room, or a field, or a puddle, doing incredibly weird things to each other’s bodies,” he said.

The film hits theaters March 17. See the trailer below.

Read more about: