Two Mountain Vista Media staff members watched, loved and decided to write about the 2017 heartwarming story about childhood differences, the movie “Wonder”.
Review by Victoria Coffman
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Jacob Tremblay as August “Auggie” Pullman
Co-starring: Julia Roberts as Auggie’s mother, Owen Wilson as Auggie’s father, and Izabela Vidovic as Auggie’s sister
Release Date: Nov 17, 2017
Adapted from the New York Times best seller, children’s novel Wonder by Raquel Jaramillo
Plot Summary: Wonder tells the heartwarming story of a homeschooled boy entering fifth grade in public school. However, unlike other children entering the fifth grade, August Pullman has severe facial deformities causing him to discover, both positively and negatively, how other children treat those who are different. The struggle to face his fears and find acceptance from his peers sends the audience on a rollercoaster of familiar emotions, and ends with “Auggie” becoming an unlikely, unifying leader.
Wonder came to theatres on Nov.17, and immediately gained approval and admiration from many critics. “In the end, while it’s not hard to see where Wonder is going, getting there is a valuable, uplifting journey, especially for kids,” critic Betsy Bozdech from Common Sense Media states.
The story begins with “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay,) explaining the 27 different surgeries he has endured throughout his life. He becomes an immediately emotionally relatable, by showing his astronaut helmet as his coping mechanism to entering the fifth grade. He captures the empathy of the audience because everyone creates coping mechanisms when it comes to entering a new grade, a new place, or encountering a multitude of new people. Many of his peers are skeptical of his appearance at first, something he was use to, but not at this amount. Auggie, shown to be more mature than his age in many aspects, only wishes that his peers would understand he isn’t all that different. However his daydreams lead the audience to discover that he actually doesn’t want to fit in, he simply wants to stand out in a good way and be appreciated. One of the biggest take-away quotes presented in the movie by Auggie’s father (Owen Wilson,) “you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out,” leaves the audience with the one of the author’s main lessons: stop trying to fit in and be yourself.
What parents need to know: The movie is suitable for all ages and proves that one should always choose kindness, compassion, and acceptance from those who differ from us. It also portrays the truth that every person is coping with their own battles, and fighting their own fights. The stories of the different characters are all relatable in some way, allowing any audience to build strong connections to their own lives. Empathy, compassion, perseverance, friendship, and how one can choose to treat others are all strong themes throughout the movie and have the ability to teach the audience valuable life lessons. As one parent wrote in their review, “[Wonder is] a wholesome film with timely messages. I applaud the rare portrayal of a healthy family. It was so refreshing to see parents who love each other; family member who can apologize [and] shine in their own.”
Review by Caitlin English
**This review DOES contain SPOILERS for the movie!
Some info about the movie prior to the review:
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Writer: Adapted from “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio
Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Daveed Diggs and Bryce Gheisar
Release: Nov. 17, 2017
Runtime: 1 hour, 53 minutes
While other students spent time studying or being outside this past weekend, I decided to sit down and watch the highly anticipated film, Wonder. Having read the book by R.J. Palacio multiple times as a kid, I was familiar with the plot line of “Wonder” .
Wonder is the heartwarming story of August Pullman (Auggie), a boy with Treacher Collins Syndrome (mandibulofacial dysostosis) who has undergone a total of 27 surgeries. The story focuses on Auggie’s first impression of public school and the challenges people like him have to overcome; being different, making new friends, and being bullied because of his experiences.
Over the course of the movie, Auggie must learn to face these challenges and gain acceptance amongst his peers.
The movie starts with Auggie’s monologue setting him apart from average kids.
“I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an XBox. Stuff like that makes me ordinary. I guess. And I feel ordinary. Inside”.
There are several other scenes in the movie that succeed at tugging on the viewer’s’ heartstrings.
When this comes to mind, there is one scene towards the middle of the movie that sticks out to the viewer.
It occurs when Auggie comes home from school on Halloween. Auggie walks into his home room teacher Mr. Bowne’s room in his Scream Halloween costume. He tells the audience that Halloween is his favorite holiday because underneath his costume and mask he can be a normal kid.
“I wish every day could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks.”
Anyways, he overhears a conversation between his friend Jack Will and nemesis Julian.
“If I looked like that,” said the Julian voice, kind of laughing, “I swear to God, I’d put a hood over my face every day.”
“I’ve thought about this a lot,” said the second mummy, sounding serious, “and I really think… if I looked like him, seriously, I think I’d kill myself”.
Auggie comes home and locks himself in his room refusing to talk to anyone. This is a very powerful scene because it’s the first time we really see him acknowledge his apppearance.
Overall, Wonder was definitely worth the wait (and tears). Wonder represents an issue bigger than itself and focuses on human differences Wonder reminds us that there is more to a movie than entertainment. This movie’s purpose is to convey a story that actually means something and leaves the audience thinking. It’s a movie that reminds us that our words hurt and have effects on people, so when given the choice between being right and kind, being kind is the way to go.
So, if you find yourself sitting around staring at the wall during winter break, or anytime for that matter, I would recommend going and seeing Wonder because it’s a story about acceptance that I believe everyone truly needs to see.
“When given the choice between being right and kind, be kind.” -Dr. Wayne W. Dyer