(THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER)
Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Izabela Vidovic and Noah Jupe
Most of you are aware that WONDER is based on the New York Times best seller of the same name by author Raquel Jaramillo (better known by her pen name, R. J. Palacio). Less of you will know the source of her inspiration for writing the story that is told in WONDER. While out for ice cream with her young son one day, Raquel and her three year-old boy saw a young girl with facial defects, which immediately resulted with the author’s son bursting into tears. Sometime after this incident, R. J. Palacio heard the song “Wonder” by Natalie Merchant and recognised an opportunity to teach society a valuable lesson after listening closely to its lyrics.
Born with the extremely rare medical syndrome Mandibulofacial Dystosis (or Treacher Collins Syndrome), August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay from Oscar-winning film ROOM) has already undergone twenty-seven facial surgeries so far in his young life. This is the main reason for his delayed induction into elementary school, where he is about to commence fifth grade after being previously home-schooled by his mum, Isabel (Julia Roberts). With the additional support of his older sister Olivia (Izabela Vidovic) and father, Nate (Owen Wilson), Auggie embarks on the courageous and frightening journey of starting school and attempting to make friends.
A perfect family film in every way imaginable, WONDER is a beautiful movie that deserves all of the warm reviews, audience affection and box office success it’s currently the recipient of.
Upon grasping the story, it becomes instantaneously transparent what the intentions of WONDER are going to be. However, this wonderful story grows even closer to your heart and adds further meaning & significance by broadening its scope to sharing separate perspectives covering Auggie’s story. Aside from the greater depth given to its characterisation, each of these viewpoints permit the film’s narrative to both bring and build on less obvious themes covered in WONDER, such as peer pressure and neglect. On the subject of its themes, whether it is showing some of the repercussions of bullying, illustrating the importance of inclusion or asking us to change the way we see, WONDER always conveys its non-preachy message with decency, courage and integrity. Though he is the primary victim of that bullying, Auggie is an incredibly endearing character whose gorgeous sense of humour and inspiring resilience never allows the profound sympathies of his audience to turn to deep sorrow. Young actor Jacob Tremblay articulates this just perfectly. WONDER also features many immaculate performances from both its younger cast (Noah Jupe as Auggie’s friend, Jack, is a stand out) and its more experienced actors, Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.
Working up a perfect balance of feel-good and heartfelt moments, WONDER is a wholly connecting film that is completely accessible to all ages. Highly recommended!
PG (Mild themes and coarse language)
Moviedoc thanks Roadshow Films for the in-season pass provided to watch and review this film.
Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc