Heartfelt story of tenacity
A STORY FULL OF LITTLE LESSONS IN EMPATHY A fantastic cinematic presentation of RJ Palacio’s novel.
Maybe it’s the release of it all. Shedding a tear during a particularly sad movie makes you instantly feel better once you step out of the cinema. The thing is, many people don’t willingly walk into such films. Not because they’re heartless: “inspirational” films are so often overly schmaltzy.
Wonder takes a different direction in the way it handles its tearjerking content – it makes it heartfelt instead of heartbreaking – not only creating something that is easier to watch but a tad more enjoyable.
Starring Oscar-nominated Jacob Tremblay as Auggie – a precocious boy suffering from a rare facial deformity – Wonder is rich with little lessons about empathy.
When Auggie, previously homeschooled, finally starts attending school he’s tasked with walking long friendless hallways every day. But through his tenacity, parents who consistently reaffirms his value and the fact that except for being exceptionally smart – he’s also a lovable geek at heart – he soon befriends a classmate, Jack.
What unfolds is the story of unlikely friendships, how humans can connect in unexpected ways, and how bullies are often enabled by others.
Tremblay delivers an endearing performance, but Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts only give wooden portrayals of sympathetic parents – a shame because dazzling performances from them could have added another layer to the film. There’s nothing exceptional about Wonder – except its underlying
Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson Stephen Chbosky 7–9PG
theme to choose kindness – a sobering reminder that we are intrinsically involved in our own experiences of the world around us.
Wonder is based on RJ Palacio’s similarly-titled novel – and as a result family dynamics are also explored. It includes generous backstories for characters, as well as telling Auggie’s sister Via’s own struggles – something that would usually get cut in the process of turning a novel into a film. If you read the source material, Wonder is a good representation of the work – sentimental and well-made.