“Wonder” is a film with the mission of instructing young kids and adults on how to be kind, and not to judge people because everyone is fighting his\her own battles. It’s a film beautifully made to remind us that the smallest act of kindness matters and goes a long way. “Wonder” is a necessary film that steers your emotions and tells you what to feel because sometimes we need the guidance.
The story follows a year in the life of 10-year-old August Pullman, a boy with facial deformities, when he starts middle school, going to school for the first time in his life. The film is based on a novel of the same name written by R.J. Palacio. Directed by Stephen Chbosky, previously known for the magnificent “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”. The film stars Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Izabela Vidovic.
Auggie was born with a genetic abnormality that has required him to undergo surgeries since his birth. You can understand why Auggie was homeschooled but you also get to know that he’s a normal smart kid who loves science, Minecraft, a big fan of Star Wars and aspires to be an astronaut. The writers were wise enough to showcase Auggie as a normal kid with a sense of humor and an active imagination that helps him through uncomfortable situations. The makeup work was extremely believable, revealing Auggie’s facial lines pulling his eyes, making them look sad, to the sides of his mouth.
Chbosky has managed to take a story that could have been easily stereotyped and made it absolutely moving. Strong performances always help the story develop. Jacob Tremblay, previously known for his magnificent role in “Room”, provides a beautiful performance adding humor and intelligence. Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts were correctly chosen for their roles as the supportive parents. Izabela Vidovic’s character was exceptional as the older sister who allows her brother to be the center of the family’s attention over her own emotional need.
Auggie’s parents decided to send him to a public school, after being homeschooled from the beginning by his mother who put her career on hold, so he can learn to socialize with other kids of his age. Just when “Wonder” started to turn into a routine family film, Chbosky surprises us by viewing Auggie’s first day of school from different perspectives; we learn what happens to Auggie’s lonely sister, Via, we get a glimpse of Jack Will’s home and what really happened to Via’s lifelong best friend, Miranda.
(Spoiler Alert: if you’re planning on watching the film then don’t read this paragraph)
The film has some familiar clichés: the hip teacher who give assignments which happen to coincidence with the film’s theme, the rich kid who bullies and torments Auggie with his friends, and the shy girl who might become Auggie’s friend. The connection Auggie strikes up with Jack Will, who also feels like an outsider, is the film’s memorable joy. This is all beautiful but my problem with “Wonder” is the cliché happy ending taking place in the school’s graduation.
I rate the film 7.5/10. “Wonder” is a beautiful and overwhelming film that will move you and you’ll enjoy watching it. The film does so well for so long that makes the conclusion forgivable. “Wonder” is a film thatremindsd us that empathy is powerful and necessary.