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Film Review: Wonder

Based on the New York Times bestseller written by R.J. Palacio, Wonder tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August (Auggie) Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time and the struggles that he and his family go through during this year. This film is directed by Stephen Chbosky and stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay.

I am a massive fan of the original book by Palacio. Back in 2015, I was a major bookworm and I would read on average 7-10 books a month. What I particularly loved about Wonder as a book was the multiple points of view that the book explored. Not only did the book see Auggie’s situation from his point of view, but we also got to see how his story affects the people around him such as his family and friends.

It was very pleasing to see that this format continues in this film adaptation. The film is segmented into sections, with each character getting their own moment to show their perspective. This could have been messy or repetitive, as the same scenes and situations are shown, but it doesn’t. It works well as each perspective adds another layer to the characters and story.

The story could also be seen as manipulative, as it is designed to tug at your heartstrings, once again works brilliantly. There are some really sad moments that will make you cry your eyes out, but there are some cheerful moments as well. There were not that many people in my cinema, yet I could still hear the room laughing. That was how funny some lines and moments were.

The acting was superb in this film. Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts both give their best performances in years, showing heart and emotion. However, they know that their roles have to be subtle as the star of the show is Auggie. Jacob Tremblay comes from his fantastic performance in Room to give an equally incredible performance here, and is fully believable in his role as a child struggling with his differences. All of the children in this film are fantastic, and it is refreshing to see children played by people the same age as the characters. That really helped set the scene a lot more.

This film deals with a very serious issue, and throughout most of the film that issue seems grounded and believable. However, there is one scene near the end that does stray towards the “movie formula’ of a dramatic moment that changes relationships and emotion of characters. This almost felt shoehorned in to tie a nicer ending together and could have been left out. There are also certain aspects that almost sugar-coat the story, making it almost too good of a situation. However, this makes the film feel as good as it does and in a film like this and the execution of it, I will let this slide.

This film comes between some major blockbusters such as Justice League and The Last Jedi. I am fearing that this film will be overshadowed and not get the recognition it deserves. This is a film that should be watched by everyone, and each person will take away something from it. I would like to see this film being used in schools to teach the importance of bullying and how one message can leave a massive impact. This is easily one of the best films of the year and I can only hope that people go and check this one out.


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