On the face of it Wonder is certainly a feel-good, heart-warming film.
“there’s no such thing as ordinary”
The tale’s wrapped round the travails of a home-schooled 10 year-old boy, Auggie, whose face is disfigured, and his quest and that of his family for him to be mainstream, (read ‘ordinary’ for ‘mainstream’ – Auggie does).
This is a clever, multifaceted film. And spoiler … there’s no such thing as ordinary; but discovering this is an extraordinary journey; somewhat tear strewn, somewhat heart stopping, somewhat cruel and always honest.
When Hollywood A-listers, Julia Roberts (mum) and Owen Wilson (dad), take roles that support the storyline but are not the storyline expect a treat. The film, like Auggie, is ‘On Giant’s Shoulders’. Gracious, great acting where Wilson twinkles and Roberts nails being an older mum with worries; giving us one trademark smile which hits her lips and zip wires to her eyes, still a pretty woman.
This is Auggie’s – Jacob Tremblay‘s film. We first see him with an astronaut helmet on so he and the world can hide from each other. We see him long for Halloween where everyone wears a mask. We see him go to school and deal and not deal with being bullied. And we see bullies dealt with.
But Tremblay’s star is not the only one in ascendance. 16 year-old actress, Izabela Vidovic, plays Auggie’s sister Via. The ‘also ran’, the sibling who could have got the congenital disease, but didn’t. She adores her brother but occasionally rails at the attention he receives.
“Auggie is the sun. My mom and dad and me are the planets orbiting the sun.”
She’s much loved and unintentionally overlooked, missing her dead grandmother and dealing with best friend’s antics. In Wonder this actress may look like a poor man’s Katy Holmes but her acting is pure Helen Hunter.
There’s little to grumble at. It’s a bit odd to supposedly drive the plot by ‘chapter’ headings, they’re not necessary. And sometimes, in a squeeze to get all the story in, it goes too fast and the changes don’t have time to resonate as they would in the book. But the messages it sends out together with flawless acting are very necessary; it’s certainly entertainment and whilst not quite a wonder it is wonderful.