Movie Review: Wonder
Wonder surprised at the box office this weekend, taking the number two spot ahead of Thor: Ragnarok. It was directed by Stephen Chbosky and adapted from the novel of the same name. The film follows Auggie Pullman, a young boy born with Treacher Collins syndrome, and his loved ones as he transitions from homeschooling to attending a prep school. The film stars Jacob Tremblay as Auggie with Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts playing his parents, Nate and Isabel Pullman. The supporting cast is also comprised of Izabela Vidovic, Daveed Diggs, Mandy Patinkin, and Noah Jupe.
The film begins with Auggie Pullman explaining a little about himself and his multiple surgeries and hospital visits. Auggie has been homeschooled by his mother for his entire life, and now his parents are talking about him attending fifth grade at Beecher Prep. After a school tour and a sneak peek at a great science elective, Auggie becomes a little more excited at the possibility. However, when school begins, he is treated unkindly by many of his classmates. Auggie is not the only one having a tough year, though, and as the story unfolds, the personal struggles of all the different people in his life are explored on screen as well.
Well, I’ll begin by saying that you will most likely need to bring a box of tissues along if you decide to see this film. The struggles not just of Auggie but all of the characters continually pull at your heartstrings. The film follows the perspectives of several of the main characters, like Auggie’s sister and his friend, Jack, in addition to Auggie’s perspective. While I understand the novel is structured that way, it was a pleasant surprise to find most of the cast featured at one point or another throughout the film. That structure was executed well, and since the whole movie focuses on the idea that everyone has their own battles to fight, it was an excellent way to showcase that point.
Part of what makes this film so fantastic is the characters that were crafted and the performances that accompany those characters. Jacob Tremblay is clearly a talented young actor with a previous Academy Award nomination, but his performance as Auggie only demonstrates that further. He delivers on the emotional journey of this kid, and the prosthetics they designed for this role looked incredible. Owen Wilson actually gave an endearing and heartwarming performance, and Julia Roberts was fantastic in this role. Also, while I was not familiar with Izabela Vidovic, she gave tremendous heart to the role of Auggie’s sister, Via. Daveed Diggs was the perfect choice to play Auggie’s compassionate fifth grade teacher, and I suddenly wish that Mandy Patinkin had been my middle school principal. However, the other truly standout performance for me centered on Noah Jupe, who portrayed Auggie’s friend, Jack. He was one of the only bright spots in Suburbicon, and he delivers again as this good-hearted kid who struggles to go against the grain and do the right thing.
It is those type of personal journeys that make Wonder such an enjoyable and impactful film. Auggie grows during the course of his school year, but so does his sister, Via, and all of his classmates. They learn to see through new eyes and to remove themselves sometimes from the center of their own little world. It is a film about kindness and compassion and seeing the beauty in all that this life has to offer. I believe that Wonder is worth a watch in the theater, but more than that, I think it’s a film that we all need to watch at least once.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.