Starring Jacob Tremblay and Izabela Vidovic This film should be shown to young and old as a life lesson about how to deal with people who appear to be different.
It has a wonderful message about tolerance, acceptance and respect. Even if the message only gets through to some moviegoers then it is all worth it.
Based on the New York Times bestseller, “Wonder” is about a 10-year-old, Auggie short for August, Pullman ( Jacob Tremblay), with mandibulofacial dysostosis or Treacher Collins Syndrome.
His parents ( Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson) home schooled him initially and now believe it’s time for him to enter 5th grade a lion’s den if ever there was one, flying skills catch the eye of a bunch of drug lords who see his plane as the perfect way to transport cocaine from Columbia into Florida on behalf of the emerging Medellin cartel.
It’s a win/win opportunity for Seal as he can deliver drugs for the cartel under the safety and protection of the CIA especially for a gentle, socially isolated boy with facial deformities despite 27 healing surgeries. They, along with his older sister Via (Izabela Vidovic), live in Brooklyn, New York.
Auggie is comfortable around the neighborhood but the prospect of school petrifies him. He is a real wiz at science and obsessed with “Star Wars” he’s nicknamed “Barf Hideous.” Later, rumors spread that just touching him will spread the plague. Seldom do we see stories like Auggie’s examined so closely. As the film progresses, it begins to abruptly shift perspectives, reconsidering the point of view of various characters in Auggie’s life.
After we first experience Auggie’s joys and hardships at school and Auggie’s first friend (Noah Jupe) betrays him when he thinks Auggie is out of earshot, we get his story. After Via feels overshadowed by her brother, we follow her own struggles in losing a close friend. She joins the drama club. And we get the backstory of the school bully (Bryce Gheisar), too, revealing parents from whom he learned his behavior.
The result is a clear and straightforward message movie, soaked in empathy. It tenderly evokes both the crushing pain of being shunned and the saving grace of a much-needed friend for Auggie and for everyone. It’s a sincere and valuable lesson in putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. A tear-jerker like “Wonder” avoids becoming mawkish and is just a wonderful movie.
Rated PG 8 out of 10