Lovingly adapted from the award-winning 2012 novel by RJ Palacio, Wonder is an exquisitely calibrated drama that eschews mawkish sentimentality but still has us weeping uncontrollably by the end credits.
An elegant script penned by director Stephen Chbosky, Steve Conrad and Jack Thorne confidently navigates the choppy emotional waters that threaten to separate four members of a Manhattan family, who have learnt the hard way that beauty comes from within. A simple bookmark structure alternates between narrators, exposing chinks in the characters’ armour as they wrestle with insecurities and learn life lessons from a 10-year-old boy (Jacob Tremblay) with a rare genetic syndrome, which has resulted in 27 agonising surgeries to rebuild his face.
Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson are an appealing parental double-act and Izabela Vidovic beautifully illuminates the guilt that gnaws at her older sister. The two-hour running time passes with copious laughter and tears. Only a stone cold heart will be able to resist the film’s sincere and heartfelt charms.