Maria Duarte is touched by a film that encourages tolerance and inclusion in an age of hate and division
Wonder (PG) Directed by Stephen Chbosky 3/5 If you don’t mind films that shamelessly push all your emotional buttons and make you reach for a hanky, then you will thoroughly enjoy the sentimental roller-coaster ride that is Wonder whose overriding message “choose kindness” is irrefutable.
Based on the New York Times best seller Wonder by RJ Palacio, it tells the story of 10-year-old August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) who, having been home-schooled all his life because of suffering from facial differences since birth, is now about to go to a mainstream school for the very first time.
Despite 27 operations, Auggie still looks different and nothing can prepare him for the fierce and unrelenting jungle of school life and being a fifth-grader — the bullying, the finger-pointing and the betrayals.
Co-written and directed by novelist Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) this is a funny, moving and inspirational tear jerker which relates Auggie’s tale from different viewpoints and celebrates accepting people’s differences.
The notion of being kind to one another is a noble principle to follow, particularly in the current social and political climate of division and mistrust. Tremblay, who was truly impressive as the captive young boy in Room, is equally extraordinary as the Star Wars-mad space helmet-wearing Auggie.
Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts are the parents we would all wish to have had, with Wilson providing the light comic relief to Roberts’s dominant but heart-warming force. There is a unexpected cameo by Chewbacca, you might want to know.
Parents will be able to relate to the Pullmans’ fears and apprehensions while kids can appreciate the stresses and pitfalls of school life.
It is a predictably super-sentimental and uplifting film as Auggie goes from social outcast to the school’s most inspirational and loved pupil. Just make sure you have the tissues to hand.