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The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - NEWS - By Da­mon Smith

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.

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