Title – Wonder (2017)
Director – Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
Cast – Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, Izabela Vidovic, Owen Wilson, Noah Jupe, Mandy Patinkin
Plot – Disfigured from a gene defect his had since birth, young boy August Pullman (Tremblay) must learn to navigate the often harsh realities of life and how people treat each other when he goes to public school for the very first time.
“You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out”
Review by Eddie on 06/12/2017
It’d take a viewer with a heart of stone to walk away from Wonder unaffected by a lovingly crafted, well-meaning and genuinely heart-warming tale that manages to overcome an abundance of manipulative situations and clichés to become a sweet and sincere experience with a number of noteworthy acting turns.
Adapting R.J. Palacio’s New York Times best-selling book of the same name, director Stephen Chbosky continues on his good form behind the camera that started with the fantastic The Perks of Being a Wallflower in 2012 and imbues Wonder with the essence of its title and while almost everything plays out as you would expect across a narrative that isn’t concerned with going anywhere of great note, the gentleness and kindness that plays out in this tale with great heart will be enough to carry audiences along.
It would’ve been so easy for Wonder to fall into genre trappings and become a well-intentioned but laborious experience but Chbosky alongside his pitch perfect cast members help create a world that feels believable and relatable even if the film and therefore Palacio’s novel could be accused of being too nice (if that’s a thing), almost as if there are no real stakes for our characters, audience’s will quickly become fully aware things will never take a truly dire turn; happiness waiting just around the next whimsical corner.
It’s an odd criticism for a film of this ilk, a film designed to be a crowd-pleaser, yet it’s not enough to stop this tale from succeeding and Wonder is absolutely a film that should be shown to all students (and arguably most adults) to remind them about what it means to show kindness to others and how each and every one of us has a story to tell and all deserve a chance to get to tell it.
At the heart of all this is another memorable and impressive turn from young actor Jacob Tremblay, who proves that his breakout role in the Oscar winning Room from 2015 was no fluke.
Completely disappearing into his role as the disfigured August “Augie” Pullman who has to learn to find his place in this world as he begins his life in the schooling system, Tremblay is faultless in his performance.
Backed up by some solid support from the likes of Julia Robert’s as Augie’s mum Isabel and Izabela Vidovic as Augie’s older sister Via, Wonder’s ensemble do some fine work together and Chbosky’s ability to showcase more than just Augie’s story in Wonder’s runtime makes this tale more than just a fish out of water experience and a more wholly encompassing look at humans of all shapes, sizes and personalities.
Final Say –
Wonder is what it is but there’s little denying the poignant and touching nature of its humanly resonate story. Perfectly played out by its cast and lovingly told by Chbosky, Wonder is one of the year’s most memorable crowd-pleasers that also harbors an ever important message of acceptance and a reminder to all about how precious each human life is.
3 ½ extra hairy school students out of 5