It has been a two-year wait for Wonder to finally be released in theatres. Wonder is a close adaptation of R.J. Palacio’s novel of the same title published in 2012, a best-selling adolescent novel.
The “wonder” is August Pullman, Auggie for short. Auggie suffers from a rare facial deformity, craniofacial difference caused by Treacher Collins Syndrome, which many operations have not been able to normalize.
In their desire to protect their son from what they fear will be at least, isolation, and at worst, bullying, his parents have home schooled Auggie. But now Auggie is entering grade five, perhaps a good time for him to experience the real world. And while he encounters the very treatment that his parents and sister feared for him, he also experiences kindness.
The film is true to the novel’s structure in which a succession of “chapters” enter the experience and perspective of several children: Auggie, his teen sister Via, his classmates Summer and Jack, and others.
This film is eager to say something important, and it succeeds. Canadian actor Jacob Tremblay, who plays Auggie, is a very endearing and dependable actor. He received critical acclaim for his role in Room in 2015. Julia Roberts is excellent in her role as a nurturing, protective mom, and Owen Wilson and Izabela Vidovic are convincing in their supporting roles as father and older sister.
This is a must-see film for children, their parents, and anyone involved in the lives of young people. Polacio drew the title from Natalie Merchant’s song “Wonder” in which she sings, “They say I must be one of the wonders of God’s own creation.” Wonder will be a reminder that all of God’s creations are wonders. (Lionsgate)