As I was leaving the cinema, a girl to my right turned to her friend, motioned towards her face and said “Am I good?” Her friend looked at the running mascara all over her face, laughed and said “You’re not good!” I smiled smugly to myself, for I had the foresight to not wear mascara.
Wonder is a film based on a novel of the same name by R.J. Palacio. It follows the story of August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) heading to a public middle school after being Home schooled thus far. What makes his journey through school a slightly bigger deal than most, is that Auggie has Treacher Collins Syndrome. This means that Auggie is a pretty odd-looking kid, and there’s nothing more terrifying then a bunch of kids deciding if they’ll ‘accept’ difference or not. But with such a strong and supportive family behind him, you feel like he’s got to stand a pretty good chance of making it out alive and maybe, even, better off for it.
I don’t recall ever seeing Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts in a movie together before, but they make a decently convincing couple. Owen Wilson is his usual cheeky self and Julia Roberts is the classic helicopter Mum, wanting to push Auggie out into the world, but also still wanting to protect him from it. Neither of them gave particularly inspiring performances, but they were still very pleasant. Izabela Vidovic plays Auggie’s older sister, Olivia, who is basically a Saint. She’s spent most of her life feeling pretty neglected due to both her parents’ lives revolving around her younger brother. She’s still the best older sister and daughter ever (puts me to shame dammit). Although I did wonder if all her repressed feelings could have lead somewhere dangerous if it wasn’t for her dreamboat boyfriend, Justin (Nadji Jeter), appearing in her life at the perfect moment. This is a feel-good movie about a kid overcoming nastiness with kindness after all, not a dark teen drama.
The child actors in Wonder are all wonderful :’D Jacob Tremblay is a pretty amazing lead. You’ve got your classic bully, Julian (Bryce Gheisar), who is a product of his parents pretty over-the-top awfulness/ I like to think it’s over-the-top and not an accurate representation of any actual parents. Sheesh. I’m naive. Or in denial. Or both. The real show stealer in this film was Noah Jupe, playing Auggie’s best friend Jack. Soooooooooo sweet. Oh my goodness. He’s just a really nice kid. But not sappy nice, real nice. Like he still does dumb/mean kid things, but he learns from them and genuinely wants to be a decent human being. I really liked Jack.
There’s nothing in particular, for me, that makes Wonder stand out among other quality family flicks – it will make you laugh, feel all toasty on your insides and make you glad you didn’t wear mascara. It is also a great reminder for young and old alike to practice kindness at every opportunity and, I hate to use such a tired cliche, not judge a book by it’s cover.