By: Movie Snurb (Three Beers) –
Wonder, based on the book of the same name, is the touching story of Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay). He has a facial deformity due to complications at birth and multiple surgeries. His parents, played by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, have decided to send Auggie to school on the 1st day of 5th grade after being home-schooled for his elementary school years. As you’d guess, things aren’t smooth sailing, but this film teaches some great lessons in being yourself, and then your true friends will appear.
The film has some wonderful lessons to teach children about being yourself, being kind to everyone, and being understanding; everyone has their crap to deal with, remember to understand that fact. When I have kids I would absolutely show them this film, it’s an excellent way to teach them those lessons. Wonder has its moments of genuine heart and it’ll give you the warm fuzzies inside. Sometimes it might get a little heavy-handed, but that doesn’t totally detract from the warmth that will come over you from this film.
Jacob Tremblay is an outstanding actor; he was so honest in his portrayal and the make-up was so real that it didn’t seem like Jacob was acting. Jacob is an immense talent and he has a long career ahead of him. Julia and Owen also do great jobs with the material they’re given. Izabela Vidovic as Via (Auggie’s sister) gives an honest and reserved performance. It would’ve been very easy to make any of these characters one-dimensional, especially Via, but we get a well-rounded character so that by the end we feel for her just as much as Auggie.
At times it seems the actors were underutilized. Julia Roberts, an Oscar winner, never really has any scenes that prove why an actor of her caliber should be in the film. It seemed like they could’ve gone with a lesser known talent and been fine. Same for Owen Wilson, only his issue is Owen is relegated to having a goofy one-liner here and there. Oh that silly Dad, he’s always just a goofball hahaha. The actors do well with what they’re given, but they could’ve been given more.
Stephen Chobsky gives a great message with this film and is a good film to watch with your kids to teach them that everyone goes through their own things and we need to be understanding, and just be kind and decent human beings to each other. However, there are many moments in this film where the message becomes quite heavy-handed. Most kids are going to understand the message; they won’t need it beat into their head.
Wonder could’ve been a much worse and much cheesier film (although it was still pretty cheesy). It’s a testament to the stellar cast and acting, and the great writing and direction from Stephen Chbosky. Wonder isn’t as good as Chbosky’s 1st effort Perks of Being a Wallflower, but it was still a nice surprise that will fill your heart.
Wonder (2017) Drinking Game
Do a Shot: every time someone makes fun of Auggie.
Take a Drink: for every moment of subjectivity or dream of Auggie.
Do a Shot: for every friend Auggie makes by the end of the film.
Do a Shot: for every cheestastic moment. Yes, it was cheesy but it’ll still make you feel.