If you’re in the mood for a feel-good inspiration story with a terrific ensemble cast, “Wonder” is just the movie for you! The film was adapted from the novel of the same name by R. J. Palacio and is directed and co-written by Stephan Chbosky.
Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay – “Room,” 2015) has a serious facial deformity. Even with multiple plastic surgeries, he is still quite unattractive. Auggie has, so far, been home-schooled by his mother, Isabel (Julia Roberts), but now his father, Nate (Owen Wilson), and Isabel think it’s time for Auggie to start going to middle school, since it’s a new situation for all the students.
Understandably, Auggie and his parents are very anxious about how this will turn out. Auggie has to cope with the fear and stares of the other students, bullying, trying to make friends, etc. Fortunately, outside of his appearance, Auggie has a lot going for him. He’s very smart, perceptive, kind, and has a good sense of humor. Auggie is the center of his parents’ energy and attention, but this is to the detriment of his older sister, Via (Izabela Vidovic). She loves Auggie, but she needs more from her parents than they are able to give.
How Auggie negotiates the challenge of entering normal life is the heart of the film. For the most part, the film is restrained. Only a few times did it get overly-sentimental and manipulative. Tremblay is superb and has given an AAW performance. Vidovic is also terrific, and I anticipate that she will make some noise in the near future. Although primarily a drama, there is ample comic relief.
If you don’t see it, you may “wonder” why you passed up the opportunity!