This week we saw the Stephen Chbosky film, Wonder, based on the best-seller by R.J. Palacio. It’s a heartwarming drama about a young boy called August ‘Auggie’ Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) a boy with a strong facial deformity from childbirth, who has been homeschooled most of his young life, is now to enter into school life, as his family feel he needs to do this to experience real life.
Auggie lives with his mum (Julia Roberts) dad (Owen Wilson) Sister, Via (Izabela Vidovic) and Daisy the dog. Other than his family, day to day he meets no one else as he keeps his face covered with a space helmet as he knows people will stare.
The school life will be very daunting to Auggie, who being self-aware of how he looks will need to remove the space helmet, which takes him to his safe place, his love of SyFy (which we also get to see in cameos from Star Wars ‘Chewbacca’ as he dreams of being anywhere other than school)
The film follows how he has to adapt from being stared at and being lonely to making friends and being treated ‘normal’. We also see the effect this has on his family as Mum, who has put her career on hold to homeschool Auggie and also how his older sister can feel less wanted, due to Auggie’s many medical appointments.
The film does see Auggie eventually make friends with Jack (Noah Jupe) and they become close, sharing their love of science and games etc even spending time together outside of school.
This all has a massive blow when Auggie in costume, at Halloween, overhears Jack saying he would kill himself if ‘he looked like that’ when showing off to the school bully, Julian (Bryce Gheisar) and his gang. As in some ways, Jack also is desperate to fit in.
The pain is made worse in that Halloween had been Auggie’s favourite day of the year as he can dress up and feel normal, as behind masks he is the same as everyone else.
This sends Auggie backwards and he goes to being lonely again, refusing contact with Jack. It is only a heart to heart with Via who reveals since returning to school she has lost her best friend, Miranda (Danielle Rose Russell) which she can not understand, but are explained later.
Via therefore has thrown herself into drama classes to get company and in away having a world outside of Auggie and the family, which also sees her finding love with Justin (Nadji Jeter)
Auggie also on returning to school finds a new friend in Summer (Millie Davis) who will be pivotal in fixing the damage done by Jack.
This film was a real gem, it could have been a load of sentimental nonsense but really shows how children can be, from nice to bad and show why we really should judge people from what is inside not outside.
The cast are all excellent, Tremblay follows up Room by proving he is one to watch in the future but Wilson and Roberts are excellent as the parents! Mandy Patinkin is also great as the kindly understanding headmaster as is Daveed Diggs as one of Auggie’s teachers.
The film will make you laugh and cry in equal measures although we need to say there is also a sad storyline involving Daisy the dog! After Marley and Me we may have to keep away from Owen Wilson films with dogs in future!
Find the trailer here:
Get the film at Amazon here:
Get the book here: