Wonder is Wonderful


Schu via Flickr

Based off of the book Wonder, the movie tells the story of a boy named Auggie, who lives his life with facial differences.

Witty, charming, sweet, and heartwarming are all adjectives that could describe Wonder, one of the best movies of the year.  

Based on the best selling novel of the same name, Wonder tells the story of Auggie, a young boy who has facial differences.  He has had multiple plastic surgeries, but he still clearly stands out, and the movie looks at his first year of going to school in 5th grade after being homeschooled until then.  However, it does not just tell his story from his perspective.  The story is told in chapters, each from the point of view of a different character in the story.  This was an innovative and excellent method of storytelling that also highlights some of the key themes of the film.  It shows that Auggie’s struggles do not just affect him, but also have a profound impact on his friends and family. While I do feel like this is an important aspect of the movie, it is undeniable that the best part of the movie and arguably the best 30 minutes in any movie all year is narrated by Auggie.  His perspective, filled with self-awareness and strife, is vital to understanding and appreciating his situation.  

The cast in this movie does an excellent job all around. Jacob Tremblay shines as Auggie, and Julia Roberts is riveting as his mother.  Every major character in this story has layers, and the movie takes its time to develop them, which is often rare in movies.  The friendship and bond between Auggie and his best friend Jack is particularly great, as it shows the nature of the two learning to be friends, and it serves as the driver of much of the emotional force of the film.  

As far as flaws with the movie,  I felt it was a bit over-sappy.  I obviously expected some of this heading into a movie like this, but there is almost an unconditional embrace of Auggie as a person that I do not feel people who struggle with facial differences would likely experience in their day to day lives, especially as a 5th grader.  This does not mean that Auggie should not be able to find friends and enjoy his life, but I feel like the movie makes his experiences a bit idealistic, which detracts from a lot of the realism portrayed throughout the rest of the story.  

Wonder deftly handles its themes of love, friendship, and kindness through a well-acted and intricate look at life for people with facial differences.

Grade: A

Photo Source: Schu via Flickr