Life can be challenging. One aspect of life that makes it so complex is how four people can see one thing four different ways. Now, add Chewbacca, lightsabers, Darth Sidious, Emperor Palpatine and we’re working towards a story as unique as the boy telling it. No, I’m not talking about the Star Wars franchise. I’m talking about the movie “Wonder” and we’re gonna dive into this film, right now.
The trailers will lead you to believe this film is about a boy with a facial disfigurement and while that is partially true, the trailers do not deliver the essence of what this movie truly is. At its core, this film explores the belief that being different doesn’t make you better or worse, instead, it makes available the opportunity to bring something unique and special to the lives of those around you. It shows us that, by simply being ourselves, if we are brave enough and strong enough to accomplish this, in a world of imitators, we open up the possibility of forever altering the perspective and feelings of the people who long to understand. We can make a lasting positive impact in the lives of strangers, family and friends simply by following our hearts and leading with kindness.
The story looks at one particular time of life for the Pullman family. Auggie (played by Jacob Tremblay) is starting 5th grade and will no longer be home schooled. As one would expect, a boy with a facial disfigurement will be met with some surprising, rude, comedic and touching moments from his classmates. What is unexpected is the method of storytelling used to deliver us this movie. We get to know the characters in Auggie’s family. We understand their back story, their role in the family and how love keeps them united. Auggie’s parents (played by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) are dedicated, thoughtful, attentive and nurturing parents. Their onscreen chemistry was a concern for me walking into the theater based entirely on the impression the trailer gave me. Once the movie was up and running that concern was alleviated. They do not portray passionate lovers, or bitter partners staying together only for the sake of the children. Instead, they both deliver a performance that shows us they are supportive best friends who love each other and their kids. I found this portrayal of marriage particularly refreshing. I don’t recall offhand another recent film where the married couple came across as best friends as well as lovers. The squabbles they had were believable and I was pleased with their performances.
The story also dares to look at change. The situations that occur in this film occur for specific reasons and, again, the storytelling shows us that there’s two sides (maybe even three or four) to every story. As the movie progresses we get to see multiple viewpoints as each character gives opinions on specific events that occur in the film. Do friends move forward in life without us because they’re mean or is there a specific reason that hasn’t been shared? We get to know all about each character because of this method of storytelling. This makes each individual onscreen much more complex, real and shows great depth. There’s always more going on in the mind and hearts of people than we may be privileged to know. This movie does a great job reminding us of that fact.
“Wonder” is in theaters now! I adored this film. This is easily in my Top 10 favorites films of 2017. We still have a few more movies to hit theaters before New Years but this film is so real, touching, heartfelt and honest that it might remain Top 10. I definitely recommend a big screen viewing of this film. It’s family friendly too. This is a well written, well acted and a well delivered story about how even the smallest among us can inspire change with the right attitude and an open heart. I can’t recommend this film enough. Go see this movie!