25 June 2019
Wonder shows a kinder world
Born with a facial deformity, 10-year-old August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay, Room) has been homeschooled by his mom, Isabel (Julia Roberts), for years. Isabel has put her whole life on hold to care for her son and support him through countless surgeries. But it’s finally time for Auggie to learn how to cope in the real world. It’s time to go to school.
It’s a very tasteful heart-tugger — a drama of disarmingly level-headed empathy that glides along with wit, assurance, and grace, and has something touching and resonant to say about the current climate of American bullying. – Variety
But Auggie isn’t like other kids. His facial deformity makes settling into school even harder than it is for everybody else. Auggie has to hold his head high when all he really wants to do is hide behind his astronaut’s helmet.
The other kids stare at him, ignore him, and the school bully comes up with hurtful nicknames like Darth Hideous, ridiculing his looks and his Star Wars obsession. Further cementing his role as the class freak, he’s left to eat lunch totally alone in the school canteen for weeks on end.
It’s not only Auggie who struggles. His sister has lived her life in Auggie’s shadow, trying not to cause any extra trouble for their parents. She quietly swallows her own worries and teenage angst. In this world, Auggie is the sun, and the rest of the family are orbiting around him. Izabela Vidovic is excellent in her portrayal of a lonely and self-sacrificing teen.
The film shifts perspective throughout, giving us insights into other character’s back stories like Via’s ex-best friend Miranda and Auggie’s first friend, Jack. Through these brief interludes, the film shares some hard truths about life: everybody is going through something – even if everything seems perfect from the outside.
Wonder is as manipulative as movies get, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes a story needs to steer you; sometimes a story tells you what to feel, but redeems itself by virtue of the sincerity with which it shows why you should feel that way. – IndieWire
This is primarily a children’s story about hope, friendship, empathy and not judging people based on their physical appearance. As the sweet and touching story progresses, friendships and young love blossom, kids learn important lessons and ultimately kindness triumphs in a wonderfully emotional school assembly finale.
Wonder offers a gentler version of the world, one in which people see past the surface and are able to accept mistakes, vulnerabilities and forgive others for their very human faults.