REVIEWS It’s the look of love
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.