For those who don’t know, Wonder is the new major motion picture based on the award winning novel written in 2012 by R. J. Palacio. Palacio wrote Wonder after an incident she experienced with her three year old son waiting in line to buy ice-cream. Her son noticed a little girl in line with a facial defect and started to cry. Palacio thought it best to remove her son from the situation fearing upsetting both her son and the girl and her family, which in fact made it worse.
As a result we now have Wonder (2017), a beautifully portrayed film that tells the inspiring story of Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay, the brilliant young star of Oscar-winner Room), a boy with facial differences who enters the world of mainstream schooling for the first time as a fifth grader with all the trials and tribulations that comes with it. The film brings an upbeat open heartedness to questions surrounding kindness, bullying, responsibility, overcoming challenges, and friendship that can be difficult to answer. Especially, when children ask frank and honest questions without realising the consequences. Wonder also sparked the #ChooseKind movement something perfectly summed up by Dr. Wayne. W. Dyer as a choice: ‘if you have a choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.
The film is directed by Stephen Chbosky best known for writing and directing The Perks of Being a Wallflower who handles the material in Wonder exceedingly well. Chbosky preserves the book’s device of multiple narrators capturing the voices of all involved with equal skill, moving from character to character, including that of Auggie’s older sister Via (sensitively played by Izabela Vidovic) whose personal struggles amidst the storyline gives the film an additionally bittersweet level. Jacob Tremblay plays August perfectly, depicting a real inner beauty seen in Auggie on his journey to self-acceptance. The screenplay is surprisingly witty and well observed portraying characters you can’t help but root for including that of Auggie’s parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson).
(Image courtesy of Lionsgate Films)