Wonder

Out Now On-Demand

Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson star as the parents of a young boy (Jacob Tremblay, Room) struggling to overcome facial deformity in this drama from the writer of The Pursuit of Happyness.

Trailers

Directed by

  • Stephen Chbosky('The Perks of Being a Wallflower', 'The Four Corners of Nowhere')

Written by

  • Steve Conrad
  • (based on the novel of the same name by R.J. Palacio)

Drama

113mins

Rating: PG Coarse language

USA

It could be the fact that everybody looks impossibly clean and shiny all the time that makes viewing this feel-good film akin to binge-watching a late nineties sitcom, albeit one with plenty of money to burn on production value. Nearly two hours of earnest paint by numbers plot devices leading to more paint by numbers plot devices caused me to, well, Wonder, if it couldn’t have benefitted from a little chaos and grit.

August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a ten year old born with severe facial disfigurement, is understandably anxious about starting school in the fifth grade after being homeschooled by his articulate, creative mother Isabel, played with fervent sincerity by Julia Roberts. Whilst lovingly devoted to Auggie, his older sister, Via (Izabela Vidovic) suppresses her resentment at the amount of attention he constantly requires from their mother to support him as he struggles through life. Ineffectual Dad, Nate (Owen Wilson), is mostly there to bounce back droll one-liners and clear the room so Isabel can administer good counsel to whoever needs it, he doesn’t appear to do anything particularly useful (like make school lunches, cook dinner or feed the dog).

The young support cast do an accomplished, if slightly saccharine, job of portraying the dynamics of learning to accept and include someone with visible differences. Tremblay provides nuanced and often hilarious insight with his inner dialogue into Auggie’s daily tribulations, and the sometimes obvious, sometimes insidious bullying he suffers at the hands of Julian (Bryce Gheisar) and his gang. The ups and downs of his first tentative friendship with Jack Will (Noah Jupe) who plays conflicted-though-compassionate with believable finesse, is one of the more satisfying journeys.

The overall theme of Wonder and its hashtagged message #choosekind, is anti-bullying - definitely an aspirational objective, and one that’s exemplified liberally.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

I respected Wonder immensely. It's an old-fashioned three-hankie sob fest with sassy kids, catchy songs, kind adults and a cute dog.

TimeOut (New York)

press

Bullies and frenemies don't get served so much as given quiet moments to confront their own mistakes.

New York Times

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"Wonder" is that rare thing, a family picture that moves and amuses while never overtly pandering.

FilmInk (Australia)

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Wonder expertly aims for the heart at every turn.

Los Angeles Times

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Though its upbeat earnestness is ever-present, it has the integrity to understand that not even kindness can eliminate all problems.

Variety (USA)

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It's a very tasteful heart-tugger - a drama of disarmingly level-headed empathy that glides along with wit, assurance, and grace, and has something touching and resonant to say about the current climate of American bullying.

The Guardian (UK)

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It is a film with all the depth of a fridge magnet.

NewsHub.co.nz (Kate Rodger)

press

If you think you will make it through even the trailer without welling up with tears, well of course you won't. Wonder is just that kind of story.

Not as good as the book but still wonderful

This was one of my fav books a few years ago when it came out. The movie is a great depiction of it and I was pleasantly surprised by who Julia and Owen were good. Shed a few tears. Loved the imaginary elements they included.