ased on the 2012 #1 New York Times bestselling children’s book by R.J.Palacio comes 'Wonder'. The story of 10 year old August 'Auggie' Pullman who was born with a facial deformity and how he experiences school for the first time.
When he reluctantly goes to school he is ridiculed, stared at and given horrible nicknames. But despite feeling the pain he stays resilient. He befriends classmate Jack and they bond over Science and Star Wars and we feel relieved that Auggie has a friend who can look past his face. The fun ends when Auggie overhears Jack say that he would rather die than look like him.
They eventually reconcile but now face more bullying by notorious bad egg Julian who leaves vindictive messages in their lockers and turns the school against them.
We also follow Auggies' 14 year old sister Via and how she deals with feeling ignored by her family as she orbits around her brother's Sun, her best friend Miranda who goes a little off the radar after a summer away and Auggies' new friend, Jack in individual chapters named after them.
Young powerhouse Jacob Tremblay (known for his standout performance in 'Room') takes on the role as Auggie in a prosthetic that took over two hours to put on every day. When he finally takes off his astronaut helmet we see not only his face but the sadness and insecurity that this brings him. I think most young actors would feel overwhelmed by the heavy makeup, but Tremblay’s talent shines throughout. He gives a heartfelt performance and reminds us that despite his struggles he is your average 10 year old.
Director Stephen Chbosky encapsulates perfectly how it feels to grow up and be a young person today. That awful feeling that the world is always against you and no matter how hard you can’t win. He doesn’t dilute the problems that young cast face but tackles them with honesty.
The film ends on a high as Auggie is awarded the Henry Ward Beecher Medal for being an exemplary pupil, a moment where I blubbered into the remainder of my popcorn.
Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson star as Auggie and Via’s parents and most probably the vehicle that will convince adults to take their young ones to the cinema this festive period. Julia Roberts does a fine job with the material but ultimately Wilson’s character doesn’t do much. He’s supportive and lovely, but that’s it. I was more interested in their lavish and gorgeous house than him.
The film lacks depth and is a little wet but that’s to be expected from a kids film. Although the film is glossy , it’s something you hope your children or younger family members would see. It’s heartfelt, joyous and celebrates the good. Its message stands the test of time, to never judge a book by its cover.