Based on the bestselling novel of the same name, Wonder tells the story of August Pullman (Tremblay), a young boy with facial differences who is to attend mainstream school for the first time. Until now, he has been home schooled by his mother Isabel (Roberts) but with the support and encouragement of his father Nate (Wilson) and sister Via (Vidovic), Auggie is ready to step into this brave new world.
From the moment Auggie meets a few of his soon-to-be classmates Jack (Jupe), Julian (Gheisar) and Charlotte (McKinnon), you start to understand this may not be your run of the mill, poor little kid against the big brave world weepy. Nothing wrong with those movies but rarely do you come away with anything other than a handful of tear-filled tissues.
No. Wonder is not that kind of movie.
Wonder is Auggie’s story, of course, but it is also the story of those who surround him. Perhaps most importantly, it is told through the eyes of the children with the adults being relegated to pivotal yet most definitely supporting roles.
Children, as we know, see the world in a different way to most adults. They see it for what it is and also, for what it could and should be. There can be brutal honesty tempered with a level of acceptance and openness that adults struggle with. By allowing the children’s voices to be heard, we view Auggie’s world in a way we never could and the results are uncomfortable and uplifting in equal measure.
Tremblay is a wonderful young actor who you may recognise from the 2015 Oscar nominated indie movie Room. (He also should have received an Oscar nod by the way….)This young man has a screen presence that belies his youth and he more than holds his own in scenes with powerhouse actors Roberts and Wilson.
Speaking of Roberts, her character Isabel has the movie’s most subtle and inspiring transformation. So subtle in fact, that you are not even aware of it well….until you are. Her relationship with her son is at the core of the movie and, as a mother, you cannot help but hold your breath with her on every step of her journey.
Wonder is a movie that will inspire and raise as many questions as it answers. We will each come away with something a little different. It may challenge how you see yourself and the world around you. You may want to go home and talk to your kids a little more. You may start to listen to what they do not say as much as to what they do.
And that is just as it should be
4 ½ stars
Director : Stephen Chbosky
Starring : Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Izabela Vidovic, Noah Jupe, Bryce Gheisar, Elle McKinnon, Mandy Patinkin, Daveed Diggs, Millie Davis, Danielle Rose Russell
Running Time : 113 minutes
Release Date : November 30
If it's on in Newcastle, it's on Newcastle Live