From the outside for those people who are unfamiliar with the bestselling book, Wonder may seem like a generic story about overcoming obstacles and the power of kindness that we have seen many times before on film. Yes, there are plenty of moments that seem to intentionally tug at your heart-strings during the movie, but those instances come from a real place that many audience members can relate to from their own past experiences. The film stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay as the individual at the center of Wonder.
Jacob Tremblay plays the sweet and smart little boy named Auggie in Wonder. Auggie acts like a normal kid, but has had a rough life since the day he was born. Due to a genetic disorder, Auggie was born with facial differences and has had over 20 surgeries in his short life to help correct some of his issues. Still it's hard not to stare at Auggie at first especially if you're a young kid with zero filter. The situation puts great stress on the entire family when Auggies decides to enroll in 5th grade after being home schooled his entire life.
Wonder could have easily laid out the sappy moments for audiences to inevitably get stuck in causing a forced emotional response, but that is not how Director Stephen Chbosky chooses to adapt this story about a year in the life of this vulnerable kid and his family. Chobosky presents Wonder in segments that puts a particular focus on one character. Of course Auggie gets his own examination in the film, but the more interesting views come from the people surrounding Auggie including relatives and friends. One of the more intriguing and sad performances in Wonder comes from Izabela Vidovic who plays Auggie's older sister Via who is often ignored in the family with all the attention on her little brother's life. Choosing to focus on each character gives the audience a dose of reality that isn't always pleasant, but feels so real.
The entire cast in Wonder including Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as Auggie's always supportive parents deliver solid performances, but Jacob Tremblay proves he's a huge acting talent in a little package. Auggie is obviously an easy kid to root for considering his situation, but Tremblay will have you fighting back tears and cheering for his success over the course of the film. The movie does have some teary eyed moments, but it also has plenty of scenes that will make you smile and teach you a thing or two about kindness. Wonder is definitely a film that entire family can enjoy together and can teach you to look at the person on the inside and not what you immediately seen on the outside.
Overall, I give Wonder 3 out of 4 stars.
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