Wonder Story: Based on the New York Times bestseller, Wonder tells the incredibly inspiring and heart-warming story of August ‘Auggie’ Pullman.
Wonder Review: Wonder features the unusual pairing of Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts as Nate and Isabel Pullman – the parents of Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) who was born with facial congenital deformities. Being home-schooled, he has avoided showing his face in public for most of his life but that’s about to change for the 10-year-old, now that his parents decide to send him to middle school. Auggie faces ridicule, bullying and discovers the ups and downs of friendship as he comes to terms with his condition. What’s interesting is how ‘Wonder’ takes this story about the little boy and weaves it around his parents, his teenaged sister Via, and all the school kids he encounters.
This is backed by strong performances behind the major characters, with Jacob Tremblay being really effective as Auggie. His personality shines through as an intelligent boy lacking in confidence, and this allows us to be emotionally invested in how he changes over the course of the film. Izabela Vidovic as Via captures the woes of a teen dealing with isolation because of her family’s need to focus on her brother. Owen Wilson puts in an honest turn as the sweet and sensitive paternal figure and is well-placed opposite Julia Roberts who delivers one of her best performances in years as a mother who has to juggle with everyone’s feelings in the Pullman household.
There are some cliched postcard-worthy quotes in ‘Wonder’ but they still manage to land home without cheating their way into pulling at your heartstrings. The film avoids the manipulative methods usually employed by Hollywood tearjerkers by giving us some perspective on the lives of those closest to Auggie, and how they are affected by his condition. Co-writer & Director Stephen Chbosky takes a lot of care to portray scenarios that are largely realistic, and witty enough to pardon some of the mandatory sugar-coating a premise like this would warrant. There are points when you will reach out for some tissues but they’re peppered with enough laughs along the way to make it well-balanced, extremely relevant and combined with a strong message. This wholesome family entertainer is certainly worth your time!