Movie Review: Wonder

Genetic disorders can cause pain. But they can also bring wonder.

The movie Wonder is truly a wondrous. It’s based on the New York Times bestselling children’s book by Raquel Jaramillo with the same name. It tells the story of a child, Auggie (Jacob Tremblay, Room & The Predator), with Cranial Facial Syndrome, or Treacher Collins Syndrome. It is a genetic disorder which, according to the National Institutes of Health, affects 1 in 50,000 people. In some cases, it is unnoticeable. However, in most cases, individuals with the condition are born with an opening in the roof of their mouth called a cleft palate. In severe cases, it can make it difficult for an infant to breathe, threatening their life. Auggie was portrayed as having a more severe condition, one that required dozens of surgeries.

This movie follows his first year of schooling with other children. Through 5th grade, he was home-schooled by his mother, Isabel (Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich), who “paused” her life to take care of him. His first interaction with his future classmates was in a tour over the summer by current students Julian (Bryce Gheisar, A Dog’s Purpose & The 15:17 to Paris), Jack (Noah Jupe, A Quiet Place & The Titan), and Charlotte (Elle McKinnon, Travelers & Once Upon a Time). While Julian is rude to him, Jack ends up becoming close friends with him.

Unfortunately, Jack is friends with Julian and ends up saying “if I looked like him, I think I’d kill myself.” Auggie stopped talking to Jack after that but Jack didn’t know why. He didn’t know that Auggie heard him because he was wearing a Halloween disguise. After this, he turns to Summer (Millie Davis, Odd Squad & Orphan Black) as a friend.

However, this movie doesn’t just focus on the harm caused by bullying. It also touches on the effects it can have on families. Auggie’s sister, Via (Izabela Vidovic, Homefront & The Fosters), feels forgotten as her brother gets most of the attention in the family. She even participates in a drama production and doesn’t tell her family.

While the school, especially Mr. Browne (Daveed Diggs, Blindspotting & Ferdinand) and Principal Tushman (Mandy Patinkin, Homeland & The Princess Bride), does everything they can to control the bullying, in the end, the only lasting change came from the students themselves realizing that Auggie was more like them than different.

While there is reconciliation in the end and his teachers, friends, principal, and family support him along the way, the movie shows the harm that can be caused when we don’t, as the Wonder team says, Choose Kind.

The movie is available to Hulu and Prime subscribers at no additional cost. And it’s on iTunes, Google Play, and YouTube for a cost. It is currently cheapest on YouTube at $9.99.

+++ | Excellent

The best rating that can be given. Exceptionally great.
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Watch the trailer.

All pictures and videos from Wonder are the property of Lionsgate, Mandeville Films, Walden Media, and Participant Media.

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