Wonder is a comedy-drama film based on the 2012 book of the same name written by R.J. Palacio. This film was directed by Stephen Chbosky, who most recent directorial venture was 2012’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (which was also a book-based film). I enjoyed that film very much and thought Chbosky’s unique style could also be successful in this film, considering he did so well with a book-based film previously.
The film stars Jacob Tremblay as August “Auggie” Pullman. Tremblay, at only 11 years of age, has made a considerable impact on Hollywood. His acting abilities shine in movies such as 2015’s Room as well as 2016’s Before I Wake. His talents continue to shine in Wonder.
The film also features the starpower of Owen Wilson playing Auggie’s father Nate and Julia Roberts playing Auggie’s mother Isabel. The film takes place in a typical modern day American town.
The movie centers around Auggie Pullman (Tremblay), a 5th grader born with a facial deformity. Auggie has been through countless surgeries to assist with breathing, hearing, eyesight and aesthetics. Even with the surgeries, Auggie still fails to blend in with other kids his age due to his deformity.
Auggie had been home schooled for his entire life, by his mother (Julia Roberts) to protect him from the world (and the judgement of other kids). Finally, Auggie’s parents make the decision that the first day of middle school will be the time for their son to attend public school.
With his astronaut helmet in hand, Auggie faces middle school to show the world that he is just a normal kid. This doesn’t come easy as he deals with kids thinking he has the “plague” as well as bullies that go out of their way to belittle him. With the support of his parents, sister and even a few newfound friends, Auggie bravely continues public school to show everyone that beauty isn’t always defined by physical appearance.
To start, this movie was done beautifully. Chbosky’s directorial talent shined in the movie’s structure and heart; the music, by Marcelo Zarvos, helped keep the tone.
The organization of the movie was very interesting and helped tell the story. It was broken up into chapter-like sections, where each section focused on a particular character. I enjoyed this style as it gave the viewer the opportunity to learn about the perspective of various characters.
The star of this movie really is Jacob Tremblay. I knew he was very talented having watched Room, but I was blown away by his ability to realistically convey a young boy’s battle with having a deformity. He was perfect for the role and his portrayal of Auggie Pullman was inspiring. Additionally, credit is due to Arjen Tuiten for his prosthetic makeup design. In the film, the deformity appeared very realistic and believable.
The supporting cast was great as well. Owen Wilson played a “cool” and funny father and Julia Roberts’ character’s love for her son shined powerfully. The bullies in the film were painful to watch, thus meaning their acting was done successfully.
This movie was well developed from beginning to end; each component of the film was done thoughtfully.
Pros VS. Cons
The Defining Factor
This film was beautiful. It effectively triggered a variety of emotions throughout the film and allowed you to become attached to the characters and their stories. There’s a quote in the movie where the principal said something to the effect of “Auggie can’t change the way he looks, but we can change the way we see.” That perfectly embodies the defining factor of the film. This is certainly a movie worth watching and it carries an important message.
I was deeply invested in this film and walked out feeling inspired. It teaches the important lesson of not judging someone by how they look, the only thing that matters is who they are in their heart.
With that said, I have to give this movie 5/5 stars. It was a profound film and I highly recommend you go see it in theaters.
Starring: Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Mandy Patinkin, Daveed Diggs
Directed By: Stephen Chbosky
Release Date: November 17, 2017 (USA)
Production Company: Lionsgate, Mandeville Films, Participant Media, Walden Media, TIK Films
Distributed By: Lionsgate
Film Rating: PG
Running Time: 1h 53min