When I told my friend Allison that I was going to watch Wonder last night her response was, “Wonder … I’ll be crying from beginning to end.” She was right. Based on the children’s novel by R. J. Palacio, Wonder is the heart-warming story about one boy’s struggle with the fact that he looks different and gets treated differently, and his courage in dealing with the way others react towards him. It’s also the stories of those around him and how — no matter who we are — we all have our issues.
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) was born with a facial deformity. Of course looking different to everyone else comes with emotional challenges and one would imagine, confidence issues. But Auggie is surprisingly self-assured and humorous (‘though not by any means without issues), mostly thanks to constant encouragement and love from his dad Nate (Owen Wilson), his sister Via (Izabela Vidovic, known for her role as Taylor in the Fosters) and most of all from his mom Isabel (Julia Roberts), who basically put her life on hold when Auggie was born. But that’s what parents do … right?
When the time comes for Auggie to swap home-schooling for public school, he must face some of his biggest confrontations yet.
While Auggie is clearly the focus of this moving film, the story is also told from the perspectives of other important characters, such as Via (his ever-loving sister who often gets overlooked while Auggie enjoys all the attention), her best friend Miranda (Danielle Rose Russell) and Auggie’s classmate Jack (Noah Jupe). And just as the viewer forms an opinion, their backstories place their behaviour in context.
In my opinion
Bullying is a central theme of the film. And while I was reminded how cruel humankind can be, the motion picture also showed — through another theme of acceptance — that there is still some kindness left in the world.
Julia Roberts did not disappoint and I really felt for this woman that got up every day to give her best and put everyone else’s needs above hers. I also enjoyed Izabela Vidovic’s performance and was in awe of this character who kept doing good in spite of not always receiving consideration and affection in return. And while Owen Wilson does his role of supportive father and husband justice, his character also ensures some lighthearted moments. The support of Auggie’s teachers Mr Tushman (Mandy Patinkin) and Mr Browne (the ridiculously hot Daveed Diggs) makes me wish that all educators could show such empathy. Thank you to those that do.
I recommend you watch this one with a box of tissues on your lap. Click here to see the Wonder movie trailer.
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