Verdict: Make sure you carry a box of tissues for this wonderfully poignant movie.
"If you don't like where you are, picture where you want to be" – This is one of the many pieces of advice Isabel gives August Pullman aka Auggie who is all set to start middle school. Based on a novel by R. J. Palacio, Wonder takes you on a tear-jerking journey of Auggie and the people around him as he starts tries to deal with middle school. There is no shortage of movies and books that deal with the concept of fitting in. But what sets Wonder apart from the other stories is the way they have handled the story by making sure every character was multi-dimensional.
What's Wonder About:
August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) is an ordinary 10-year-old. Like any other 10-year-old, he is petrified of starting middle school and has a lot of love for Star Wars. His dream is to be an astronaut and his favorite accessory is the Space Helmet, which was a Christmas gift. Because the two things that set him apart from any ordinary 10-year-old are that he was homeschooled until the fifth grade and that he suffers from a genetic abnormality. It has taken him multiple surgeries to look as close to normal as possible. His parents played by Nate (Owen Wilson) and Isabel (Julia Roberts) are obviously a little wary of sending him to school but are adamant that it is time Auggie enters the real world. His sister Olivia (Izabela Vidovic) aka Via has pretty much raised herself while her parents were caring for Auggie and doesn't hold any hard feelings towards her brother. She has one best friend Miranda (Danielle Rose Russel) but they don't really talk anymore.
Auggie is first introduced to Mr. Tushman (Mandy Patinkin) who is the principal of the school and no, Mr. Tushman doesn't mind jokes on his last name. He assigns three kids – Jack (Noah Jupe), Charlotte (Elle Mckinnon), and Julian (Bryce Gheiser) – to take Auggie around the school. Julian, from the onset, seems like the guy who would create trouble for Auggie and he does just that. On his first day, Auggie gets a lot of curious stares at school and nobody really wants to talk to him until he helps his fellow student Jack out of a bind and the duo become inseparable. But the year for Auggie is not easy as he deals with bullies and betrayals.
In the first 15 mins of the movie, you will find a tear rolling down your cheek and during those 15 mins, you will also be laughing out loud. Well, that is the kind of journey this movie will take you on. There aren't many dramatic highs and lows but as the story progresses, you better keep the aforementioned box of tissues handy. The best part of the movie is how it takes into account everyone's feelings. You might have heard of the phrase 'every coin has two sides'. Stephen Chbosky has successfully narrated this multi-faceted story by giving each character a point of view. You get to see the story progressing from each of the principal character's point of view (excluding the parents). The director has made it a point to let us know that he is an ordinary kid, who loves Halloween, throws temper tantrums and in the end just wants some friends.
The supporting cast puts up a spectacular performance especially Noah Jupe who, after a hallway fight, reacts exactly how you would expect a child and that drives home the point that everyone has their own battle to fight. Even Via, the quiet teenager who loses her only friend, is convincing as a teenager who learns to make the best of her situation.
What could have been better:
While you experience the highs and lows, the end is something you might expect and doesn't quite live up to the storytelling. Also, we wouldn't have minded if the movie were a bit longer.
Why you should watch this movie:
It is a sweet, feel-good movie that carries a strong message of choosing kindness over all. It is yet another story where you learn the importance to look at a person beyond their exterior appearances. Although you might think some of the teenage issues have been addressed before, you would not roll your eyes as you come face to face with the characters' problems in this one. While Auggie might think he is an ordinary 10-year-old, there are a lot of wonderful things about the kid. When asked to choose between the movies this week, choose Wonder.
If you are still not convinced, then check out our 5 reasons to watch Wonder