WONDER

★★★½

Starring Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Izabela Vidovic, Mandy Patinkin, Noah Jupe, Bryce Gheisar, Elle McKinnon, Danielle Rose Russell
Directed by Stephen Chbosky
2017 / 113 Minutes / Lionsgate

Review by Brent

Wonder is a sweet little movie that families are going to love. Jacob Tremblay plays August Pullman, a boy with a medical facial deformity who leaves homeschool for a mainstream elementary school. Tremblay as always is terrific in this difficult role (although he’s no stranger to difficult roles, he’s absolutely incredible in Room). The makeup he wears for this role must have been challenging. He’s completely transformed and lost into this character.

As nice and entertaining as Wonder is, it’s not an amazing achievement by any means. It’s feels a little too “after school special” to me. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but at times it’s a little too perfect and happy. We’re dealing with a difficult subject that this child is dealing with and everything seems easily solved. The story is pretty basic and lacked a lot of emotional punch where it could have been much more. I actually found the trailer more emotional and heart wrenching than this.

I haven’t read the book this is based on so I can’t comment on whether the storytelling is the same, but it feels messy to me. I didn’t really care for the different character perspectives, just tell this story! It doesn’t need to be this complicated, it’s not a groundbreaking idea. I also would have liked a little more backstory on August and his condition. I think the emotion is lacking because I don’t fully know what this is. The sister’s storyline also feels unimportant to me even though I understand why we need it, I just didn’t care. She’s a boring character! Everyone in this movie is a little boring except August and that’s where all the focus should be.

SPOILERish WARNING
There was a scene in this movie that I felt was completely unnecessary. Near the end of the movie when the kids are at the camp and August and his friend Jack get into a fight with some bullies. Jack falls and hits his head on a rock. The camera focuses on this and he’s bleeding… WHY! Suddenly this movie becomes uncomfortable because now I’m thinking this child is going to die. He doesn’t and nothing comes of this. Why do we need it then Could he just fall and not hit his head, what’s the point of showing us this closeup and focusing on him bleeding if nothing comes from this. I really hated the manipulation. It’s not needed at all!

I do think this is an important movie for young kids to see and parents will enjoy it too. I just expected more from it and that’s probably why I’m feeling a little disappointed by it. However it’s worth seeing and it is successful in delivering it’s important message.

Grade B-

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