Home » Media »  Wonder

Wonder


Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts star in a scene from the movie "Wonder." The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/Lionsgate)

Help us expand our reach! Please share this article

NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Wonder" (Lionsgate) is a beautiful film about ugliness. Its protagonist is August "Auggie" Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a 10-year-old boy born with facial deformities whose misshapen visage becomes a moral Rorschach test for the people around him.

This gentle, moving drama centers on Auggie's struggle to win acceptance from his peers as he transitions from being educated at home to attending the fifth grade of his local middle school. But it also explores the lives of his supportive parents, Nate (Owen Wilson) and Isabel (Julia Roberts), and his loving older sister, Via (Izabela Vidovic).

Via gives Auggie unstinting affection despite the fact that his emotional needs have left her feeling overlooked by Mom and Dad.

Though reluctant to subject Auggie -- who usually goes out in public wearing an astronaut's helmet that conceals his face from view -- to the potential ordeal of school life, Nate and Isabel know it will be the best thing for him in the long run. They find an ally in Auggie's principal, Mr. Tushman (Mandy Patinkin), a rabbi-like figure who serves as the movie's ethical core.

As for Auggie's fellow students, their attitudes range from the open friendliness displayed by easygoing Summer (Millie Davis) to the cruel hostility embodied by would-be top dog Julian (Bryce Gheisar). Somewhere in the middle is Auggie's on-again, off-again pal, Jack Will (Noah Jupe).

Though fundamentally kind and, eventually, genuinely fond of Auggie, Jack is case study in subtle variability and the negative effects of peer pressure. When circumstances enable Auggie to overhear some heartless remarks about him that Jack makes simply in order to fit in with the crowd, the effect is devastating. A later scene in which Julian comes to recognize the full impact of his bullying also carries a wallop.

Subplots involving Via's best friend, Miranda (Danielle Rose Russell), and newfound love interest Justin (Nadji Jeter) reinforce the idea that all of us are potential heroes or villains. Though some of the people in Auggie's world are wholly good -- his parents and Justin, for example -- no one is presented as irredeemably wicked.

In adapting R.J. Palacio's 2013 best-seller, director and co-writer (with Steven Conrad and Jack Thorne) Stephen Chbosky has created a winning and memorable film about the significance of ordinary life and the lasting impact of everyday choices. Despite a few mature elements, the movie's valuable lessons make it appropriate fare for most teens.

The film contains a scene vaguely referencing married sexuality, fleeting scatological material, a couple of fistfights, one use of profanity and a single mildly crass term. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

- - -

Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

- - -

CAPSULE REVIEW

"Wonder" (Lionsgate)

Gentle, moving drama about a 10-year-old boy (Jacob Tremblay) born with facial deformities and his struggle to win acceptance from his peers as he transitions from being educated at home to attendingthe fifth grade of his local middle school. His sympathetic parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) offer support as does his older sister (Izabela Vidovic), despite the fact that his emotional needs have left her feeling overlooked by Mom and Dad. The attitudes of his fellow students (most prominently Noah Jupe, Bryce Gheisar and Millie Davis) range from open friendliness to cruel hostility with Jupe's character representing a case study in moral subtlety and the negative effects of peer pressure. In adapting R.J. Palacio's best-seller, director and co-writer Stephen Chbosky has created a winning and memorable film about the significance of ordinary life and the lasting impact of everyday choices. Despite a few mature elements, the movie's ethical lessons make it appropriate and valuable fare for most teens. A scene vaguely referencing married sexuality, fleeting scatological material, a couple of fistfights, one use of profanity, a single mildly crass term. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

- - -

CLASSIFICATION

"Wonder" (Lionsgate) -- Catholic News Service classification, A-II -- adults and adolescents. Motion Picture Association of America rating, PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

Help us expand our reach! Please share this article

Submit a Letter to the Editor


Comment

Comments Policy