RE­VIEWS It’s the look of love

Sunday Tasmanian - - News -

Stephen Ch­bosky ( The Perks of Be­ing a Wallflower)

Ja­cob Trem­blay, Ju­lia Roberts, Owen Wil­son, Iz­abela Vi­dovic, Noah Dupe

APERCEPTIVE adap­ta­tion of the 2012 best­seller by R.J. Pala­cio — a beau­ti­ful book that spawned the anti-bul­ly­ing “Choose Kind’’ move­ment — Won­der lives up to its ti­tle in sev­eral ways.

Though a dead-set, can’tmiss crowd-pleaser, this movie does not sim­ply set­tle for leav­ing us with a lot to like.

In­stead, Won­der sub­tly pushes through­out for some­thing more: in­sights on how we treat each other that can be lin­gered upon and learned from.

Par­ents please note: think for a minute about some of the big-screen junk your chil­dren have been sub­jected to this year. Make it up to them by mak­ing sure you get them along to Won­der.

It is one of those rare movies that will leave them with a lit­tle some­thing about em­pa­thy and open-mind­ed­ness that just might sink in for the long haul.

Un­til the age of 10, Aug­gie (Ja­cob Trem­blay) has been home-ed­u­cated by his mother Is­abel (Ju­lia Roberts), a re­sult of be­ing in and out of hos­pi­tals since birth.

Aug­gie suf­fers from a con­gen­i­tal dis­or­der that has both dis­fig­ured his ap­pear­ance and played havoc with his over­all health.

How­ever, the time has now come for Aug­gie to get his first ex­tended ex­po­sure to the real world by at­tend­ing a reg­u­lar school.

Need­less to say, the other chil­dren do not make it easy for this sen­si­tive and in­tel­li­gent boy. Aug­gie’s only de­fence against judg­ing eyes and taunt­ing mouths is an as­tro- naut hel­met he wears as much as pos­si­ble.

Though the jour­ney of Aug­gie in Won­der is a seem­ingly pre­dictable one from ex­clu­sion to ac­cep­tance, the thought­ful, gen­tly quest­ing route taken along the way backs off from many con­ve­nient cliches.

In­tu­itive and com­pre­hen­sive script­ing is the key. On a reg­u­lar ba­sis, di­rec­tor Stephen Ch­bosky puts the main plot on hold, and delves into the back story of those who know (and don’t know) Aug­gie. Each one of these di­ver­sions keeps Won­der firmly on its in­tended track.

We come to process the an­guish par­ents must feel when a child they have pro­tected and nur­tured above all else must be­gin to look after him­self.

Time is also set aside to ex­plore the im­pact the love and con­cern lav­ished upon Aug­gie has had on his sup­port­ive el­der sis­ter Via (Iz­abela Vi­dovic).

Most im­pres­sively of all, the sto­ry­telling scope of Won­der widens even fur­ther to gain an un­der­stand­ing of why oth­er­wise well-be­haved chil­dren can take such a fixed and cruel stance against one of their own kind.

This as­pect of the film is in­cred­i­bly well-han­dled, and is sure to get through to kids about bul­ly­ing and prej­u­dice in a way that stern warn­ings and catchy hash­tags will not.

FAC­ING THE TRUTH: Aug­gie (played by Ja­cob Trem­blay) and his mother Is­abel (Ju­lia Roberts) head to school in Won­der.

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