If you’re looking for a break from football and turkey, opt for some family entertainment at your local theatre and see “Wonder.” With a PG rating, this heart-warming film has a little something for everybody. Good casting with big stars Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson sets things up to create a believable family dynamic that’s both unique and relatable.
With the screenplay and direction by Stephen Chbosky, the same genius who wrote The Perks of Being a Wallflower, “Wonder” will give you a chance to feel wonderful when the closing credit roll.
If you saw the movie Room, you’ll know Jacob Tremblay as Jack, the little boy who, with his mother, was imprisoned by a madman in one single room for years. In “Wonder” Tremblay brings more of the same depth and emotion to carry the weight of the movie on his nine-year old shoulders.
Tremblay plays Auggie Pullman, son of Nate (Owen Wilson) and Isabel (Julia Roberts) and little brother to Via (Izabela Vidovic). As Via explains, in this family’s universe, son Auggie is at the center, and everything revolves around him (pun intended). Having spent his young life in and out of hospitals, Auggie has a facial deformity caused by a collision of genes. Even after multiple surgeries, Auggie’s disfigurement still has the capacity to startle. He knows what it’s like to be the victim of unkind children and starring adults.
As a measure of protection, Isabel has home-schooled Auggie, but that has to change now that he’s reached middle-school age. Auggie’s pleading not to go falls on deaf ears because Isabel knows that his confronting the real world will be harder as he grows older. Everybody’s new in middle school, so it’s a good time and place to start.
So Auggie will make that first scary step and enter a world without the protection of his family. His story, however, will not be the only one told. Multiple perspectives will be communicated among his immediate family, as well as that of Jack Will (Noah Jupe) the first child Auggie counts as a friend, and Via’s best friend Miranda (Danielle Rose Russell). He will find respect from his school’s principal Mr. Tushman (Mandy Patinkin) and delight in his science class.
Auggie will grow in resolve and determination as he encounters Julian (Bryce Gheisar), the class bully; he will learn to navigate all manner of difficult waters, but ultimately, he will find goodness and hope through the strength of his friends and family. And that’s a fine situation to set the stage for the holidays.
Rated PG for thematic elements including bullying, and some mild language.
Marilyn Robitaille has been writing film reviews since 1999.