This film has a very core demographic I felt, but nevertheless, it seemed to promise that it would tug at the heartstrings inside us. At some point in our lives, we will have come across someone who is different from anyone we’ve met. This encounter has numerous emotional outcomes from sympathy, discomfort or disgust, Wonder is a film that takes this encounter and lets us look at this from a child’s perspective and mind. I am glad that I ignored my initial perception about this film because Wonder does a fantastic job at presenting a story that feels good and with a child that everyone can get behind and root for.
I’m reminded of a piece of dialogue from the film that sums up the narrative perfectly “My house is the universe and revolves around the son” except that isn’t the whole truth as the narrative branches out into separate narratives around select children in the film and does the purpose of revealing what their character is like and their backstory. Wonder does a spectacular job of juggling around these narrative whilst keeping the focus of Auggie’s (Jacob Trembley) story of his time in school its prime story.
Wonder is a perspective film in the way that whichever character it is exploring, we see the world through their eyes. For instance, when we are learning about Auggie as a person and what he does through on a daily basis, we see it through the eyes of a child not an adult writer writing in the mindset of a child, this is done in a variety of ways such as first-person shots, but easily my favourite is when Chewbacca makes an appearance in some scenes. It sounds like I’m making this up but I’m not, and it’s such a refreshing look into child characters and you feel like the connection between you and Auggie is easier to build due to the relatable nature of imagining your favourite characters beside you.
The heartwarming tone is very consistent and will make even the most introverted persons smile at some point during the run-time. In addition, no character is ever felt like they are unimportant to the tonal progression of the central narrative that surrounds Auggie. His sister Via (Izabela Vidovic) is give her own struggles as she wishes for the same amount of loving attention from her parents Isabel and Nate (Julia Roberts & Owen Wilson) whilst also having to struggle with the pressures on first day of school as well which is again very relatable and done in a way that isn’t too over the top and full of ‘first day of school’ clichés.
When the family is together, the open-heartedness of the film shows its colours. Just from the fantastic performances by the cast the audience can easily understand that this is a family that still haven’t fully adjusted to Auggie’s facial scars but are trying to stay positive about the situation that has come to them, Julia Roberts’ performance give us the clearest of pictures into this element but that doesn’t mean that the rest of the family don’t show it too.
While the film is a true test of how emotionally open you are toward heart warming stories, Wonder does have its problems. When I look at films that contain child actors, the best of the bunch is those where you start to pick up on the fact that the kids talk, act and behave like kids. Many films mess this up and it can feel as though the film’s dialogue is too much like how adults talk to each other. Wonder almost messes this up as well. Three writers wrote this film and at time it feels like that as well. The perspective of the child is gone masterfully in Wonder and am the tiniest bit disappointed that the dialogue could fit with this perspective.
I think the film leaves its characters in a satisfying place, however this is because most are done at a steady pace that matches the kind of tone the film is going for. Some character arcs like Via’s best friend Miranda (Danielle Rose Russell) are done very quickly because the film is also wanting to close the book on its other characters, despite this she still remains an impactful character on Auggie and provides some very surprising answers to certain plot devices.
Wonder speaks for itself really, it is a wonder of a film. I feel that parents are going to have the strongest emotional react and is a film very much tailored around the empathy of the nervousness of their child taking their first big steps into becoming their own person. Auggie is one of this year’s characters that you root for the most, Jacob Tremblay gives a fantastic performance as well as the rest of the cast. The character are written tremendously well and I believe that if you are a parent and plan of seeing this film, take your child with you as behind the film itself, Wonder is a great humanitarian lesson to be taught.