August Pullman, a boy born with a genetic disorder that causes severe facial deformity, enters the fifth grade at a public school for the first time.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A-)
Jacob Tremblay (Room) leads this cast as August (Auggie) Pullman, and he delivers a superb performance. Almost unrecognizable because his face is covered in prosthesis, he still manages to create a character that is likeable, three dimensional, and charismatic.
Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson also provide great performances as Auggie’s parents, playing off of each other’s quick wit to lighten the movie when it needs it most without creating superficial characterization. Their storylines provide a needed adult viewpoint and will prove especially interesting for the parents in the audience.
A heartwarming story with some deep (and important) lessons to teach, Wonder finds itself navigating the tricky waters of being a book that became a movie without losing any of the heart or dimension of its source material. The few criticisms I have are these: the movie should trust the audience more, as it strays into being too heavy handed with its lessons at a few points, and the run time could be cut down 10-15 minutes. All in all, though, this movie is a well-rounded experience that will teach (or remind) you about some life lessons that the past few years may have caused you to forget.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR FAMILY?
Wonder is rated PG. The principles taught are uplifting and important for anyone of any age to learn, and I feel comfortable recommending bringing your whole family (and maybe some tissues), to this movie. The rating is for some thematic elements that include bullying and some language (the G-word is used). There are two fight scenes in this movie, taking places between tweens, but without any blood or gore shown, and (I feel it important to note) without the movie condoning that behavior in any way.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
While differences can be frightening to those who do not understand, we must seek to gain understanding instead of bullying or persecuting those who are different. “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose being kind.” -Dr Wayne W. Dye.
Owen Wilson eschews his laid-back slacker persona in Wonder; he also plays against type in the action-thriller Behind Enemy Lines. Worth the watch with your teens!
Lindsi Neilson currently works for Brigham Young University in the Theatre and Media Arts department, and is a freelance technical director and stage manager for several theatre companies in the Utah Valley area. In her free time she loves photography, stand up paddle-boarding, running 5k’s, reading, spoiling her nieces and nephews, and (you guessed it!) watching movies. For more of Lindsi’s writing visit lindsimichellephotography.blogspot.com.