Wonder

Film, Drama
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)
Wonder

A child grapples with the way he looks—and those around him do some serious soul-searching—in a graceful drama that's engaged with ethical questions.

Children don’t get to decide how pretty they are when they’re born, yet how they behave determines, to a large degree, how beautiful they become. So it goes in the sincere, unusually thoughtful Wonder, in which two unfairly attractive parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) bolster the confidence of their young son, Auggie (Room’s Jacob Tremblay, the real deal), born with a facial deformity that even his active imagination can’t fully overcome. Auggie, a budding science whiz and Star Wars obsessive, is set to start private middle school, a shift that requires him to remove the astronaut helmet he’s worn as a barrier against shocked stares. His misadventures among his peers sometimes get rough, but director Stephen Chbosky (maker of 2012’s empathic The Perks of Being a Wallflower) is smart enough to limit this scenario’s mush to a minimum, instead shifting his focus to the people around Auggie who need to evolve.

R. J. Palacio’s novel on which the film is based is beloved by young people; it’s even taught in schools as a fair-minded entryway into social interaction. Although the film takes place in a fantasy version of brownstone Brooklyn, it’s more cutting than the book, especially for the way it shuns the concept of a star vehicle and sharpens the material into a forum for several moments of guilt. Auggie’s new friend, Jack (Noah Jupe), a scholarship kid, grapples with peer pressure and the effects of some casually cruel language he unleashes. Auggie’s adolescent older sister (Izabela Vidovic, superb) aches from
a perennial lack of attention; the movie delves into her budding identity as she steps out of the shadow of her brother but also suffers for it. Bullies and frenemies don’t get served so much as given quiet moments to confront their own mistakes. Choose kind (as opposed to right) has become something of a tagline for Palacio’s book—and the movie as well—but that axiom is an oversimplification of the ambition on display here. These kids are choosing right, even if it takes them a while to get there.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf

 

By: Joshua Rothkopf

Posted:

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday December 1 2017
Duration: 113 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Stephen Chbosky
Screenwriter: Stephen Chbosky, Steve Conrad, Jack Thorne
Cast: Jacob Tremblay
Julia Roberts
Owen Wilson

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|8
1 person listening
Tastemaker

This is one of those movies that I want to see with my (future) kids.

Beautiful, powerful and touching story.

Grab a box of tissues because you’ll need it.

Tastemaker

A nice, feel-good movie. I love Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, and enjoyed watching them both in this. The plot isn't ground-breaking or anything, but it's an easy film to watch, if that's what you're going for. I found it a little too "Hollywood" for my taste, but still enjoyable.

Tastemaker

My favourite movie of 2017, such a heart felt movie and so touching. the cast were superb, especially Jacob, I can't believe he's 11! 

I think everyone what ever age should watch this movie and really puts like into perspective.


Top tip- Take about 10 boxes of tissues, even that won't be enough. 

Tastemaker

I choked up about twenty seconds into ‘Wonder’ and spent the rest of the film veering dangerously between muted sniffles into my scarf and bawling my eyes out loudly & unashamedly. Don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a sad or disheartening film though because it’s neither. It’s moving and it’s thought-provoking and there are definite moments when, unless you are the Tinman, your heart will ache but the overall feeling I had when I left was of being uplifted & optimistic rather than depressed.


Jacob Tremblay in a wouldn’t-be-surprised-if-he’s-Oscar-nominated role – only his second after a memorable performance in ‘Room’ last year – is frighteningly good. It’s hard to believe he’s only 11 because the level and depth of emotion that he gives here is astonishing. Absolutely no angel, which only serves to make the film more believable than if he was portrayed that way, his Auggie is a normal child who loves all the things young boys do. Parents played by Owen Evans and Julia Roberts – both so so good – take you on their journey in beautifully generous performances; it might seem odd to say they are relatable if you’ve never gone through their experiences yourself, but everything they say & do is honest and truthful and at times, their actions & words feel like your actions & words.


I love the way the film didn’t just focus on Auggie but on his friends & sister – we saw the viewpoint of their lives from every child’s perspective and adults, although there and prominent and wonderful (Mandy Patinkin and Daveed Diggs are both superb playing the kind of teachers you would wish with all your heart for), are not allowed to dominate the film. I have a friend with this condition who has a wonderful life with a beautiful family and a great job. Watching ‘Wonder’ – a movie that he himself said was like watching his childhood on screen – gave me such an honest insight and a sharp reminder into one of the other ways that some people have to grow up with more courage than should probably be required of them at such a young age. I was thoroughly heartened as well to see so many parents with their children in my screening with me – there’s always time for ‘Paddington’ and ‘Star Wars’ but I loved the fact that so many families recognise that there’s also time for films that aren’t as straightforwardly childish as others. Never mawkish, always engaging and guilty of reminding you that kindness should always win out over being right, this is one of 2017’s best films without doubt.

tastemaker

Wonder is definitely the movie of 2017 for me! The story is incredibly inspiring and heartwarming and Jacob Tremblay truly plays Auggie brilliantly! It's very moving and was hard to not get caught up with the characters and keep a dry eye! Highly recommend this for adults and children as the take home message is for us all! 

tastemaker

A truly captivating story for both children and adults. The book slightly pips the film, but the movie does a fantastic job at portraying the highs and lows Auggie faces. The story highlights the best and worst parts of human nature and there are truly heartfelt performances from Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay. A must see. 

Tastemaker

Wonder is film of the year so far for me. Yes, it’s mushy and overly sentimental, but it’s a lovely family film to warm the coldest of hearts and underneath it all there is a lovely simple message that everyone of us can relate to.

Starting High School is usually a time that is difficult for most people but for Auggie (played excellently by Jacob Tremblay) it is particularly challenging after being born with a condition resulting facial disfigurement and having been only home schooled up to that point. I really loved this film, I cried and laughed, there were moments that really moved me. I related to all the characters, it was just a wonderful film. I would urge everybody to see it!
tastemaker

Wonder is a truly wondrous story. Jacob Tremblay plays a severely facially disfigured young boy who has to find the inner strength to survive at school. His parents devout themselves to their son almost to the exclusion of their older daughter. But a school he has to fend for himself. Nothing is crueler than a classroom of children. We are taken through the emotional highs and lows. Take plenty of tissues if you're a softie and if you're a hard nut, maybe allow you're hard outer shell to be cracked. A lovely film!