Critic Consensus: Wonder doesn't shy away from its bestselling source material's sentiment, but this well-acted and overall winsome drama earns its tugs at the heartstrings.
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as Isabel Pullman
as Nate Pullman
as Auggie Pullman
as Mr. Tushman
as Mr. Browne
as Ms. Petosa
as Miranda's Mom
News & Interviews for Wonder
Critic Reviews for Wonder
Wonder is a well-crafted, well-intentioned movie. But it also downplays some important economic, emotional, medical, and psychological realities...it missed a chance to better represent the experiences of children who are already so widely misunderstood.
I can understand where there is value in showing this film to younger children because the message, albeit sanitized, will resonate.
The message is clear. Kids don't want to be mean; they want to be kind. But they need better examples, and they need permission.
Maybe this little movie about a kid with a facial disorder isn't really about a kid with a facial disorder at all, but about whatever you and I choose to see in it. And if that's not art, I don't know what is.
Bullies and frenemies don't get served so much as given quiet moments to confront their own mistakes.
Starring a terrific Jacob Tremblay as a bullied boy with facial deformities and Julia Roberts as his mom, this drama based on the R. J. Palacio book that nearly everyone has read and wept over has surprising dimension and delicacy.
Audience Reviews for Wonder
Sappy films aren't everyone's cup of tea, but when a film embraces its sappiness and turns it into something emotionally resonant, then I truly believe that they can be some of the best films out there. While Wonder may have looked a little overdone throughout its marketing campaign, making it out to be a film about a kid being bullied for looking different from everyone else, that's honestly just scratching the surface of what the message of this film really is. There is always a feel-good movie that I attach myself to every year, and I believe Wonder is probably the film from 2017 that did it for me. No, it's not going to win awards for originality, but quite honestly, if there was an award for moving your audience to tears, then Wonder would earn top honors. This movie deserves to be seen by everyone of all ages and here's why. Following Auggie Pullman, a young fifth grader who was born under unlikely circumstances, leaving him to deal with looking different than everyone else around him, this is a story about the courage to ignore the bad and embrace the good. I was expecting this film to be strictly about the character of Auggie, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that this film divides itself into sections that explore each of the characters that surround him and their reasoning for either being nice or mean to our protagonist. I found the construction of this film to be one of the most commendable aspects because the end result only benefited from this. Ever since I first watched him perform in Room, Jacob Tremblay continues to prove that he's either ten years older than he looks, or that he's just a gifted actor that won't let a single movie prevent him from being stellar. This young actor has an incredibly bright future ahead of him. Whether it was narration that dived into his psyche or simply his natural interaction with his friends and family, I truly saw this character as a real person, instead of a generic young actor in a movie. Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts give solid performances as well, along with Noah Jupe and Izabela Vidovic being very solid in their supporting roles. Where this film may turn some viewers off (which I think will be a very slim few) is in its eye-rolling emotional core. Look, you can't go into a film like Wonder and expect something with raw human emotion like a film that has family in and out of prison because this is for families. If you're looking for the most realistic film in terms of realism, then I would suggest looking elsewhere, but if you're up for a great family movie that will make you cry every few minutes and make you want to hug the closest person around you, then Wonder is just about as perfect as they come. This is easily the feel-good movie of 2017 that deserved every dollar it received at the box office. In the end, Wonder explores a story that feels familiar, but not exactly ever told in this way before. We've seen thousands of stories revolving around bullying and looking different, but we see it from multiple perspectives here and watching all of these characters transform around the expense of the character of Auggie was such a delight. For people who want to sit down and watch a movie that will make them feel amazing, I can't recommend watching Wonder enough. Everything about this film is well-done. From its writing that does a good enough job in exploring multiple characters to the direction that focuses on emotion first, to musical cues that will have you in tears, to the very notion that our world can be a better place if people were kinder, Wonder has it all. Aside from feeling sappy at times, I absolutely loved this movie from start to finish.
A well-intentioned family film? Oy vey, say it ain't so, and yet this outing, well anchored by its established stars, hits all the marks and then some with its story of a disfigured child's excursion into the wicked jungle of grammar school. Most films of this ilk leave one panting for a glass of milk at the very least, but this one makes rising above the usual treacle look easy. A nice bet.
I know I've said this on several occasions, but I'm never a fan of films that seem to be made specifically to make the audience cry. I bring that up because it could appear to some people that Wonder does that very thing, as the film revolves around a child born with Treacher Collins Syndrome and the various troubles that his family goes through with a world that doesn't understand the genetic disorder. Naturally a film that centers upon a child constantly being made fun of is difficult to handle emotionally. However, Wonder approaches this subject matter with a certain amount of genuineness that is undeniably endearing. So the problem I have with the films mentioned above, does not apply here at all. I'm not one of those people who go out of their way to deny when films bring them to tears and so I'm going to flat out say right now that I don't believe any film has impacted me this much and at a consistent rate than Wonder did. I can't tell you how many times I found myself clearing my eyes from the rain shower that was about to invade my sight. And I say this with so much respect and admiration to what this film was able to accomplish. Credit should most definitely be given to Stephen Chbosky's directing, adapting, and also R.J. Palacio's book the film is based on. But I was most impressed with the casting and performances of the film. After 'Room', we all knew he was in for great things, and Wonder is yet another example of the prodigy that is Jacob Tremblay's the actor (Auggie). Being the heart and soul of the movie, Tremblay gives a wonderfully poignant performance, and equally balances his innocence at 10 years old but also the inner strength he displays in not giving in to the bullies he faces. I also found the rest of the young actors they cast as his classmates to be impeccably realized. A lot of times when you have a bully(s) storyline it's difficult to portray their antics honestly. It usually feels like they are writing the bully's dialogue to service the arc of the main protagonist. In Wonder, every character of importance has depth and it's understood why the particular person would say or do whatever they were doing in those moments. Heck, there were moments where I felt bad for the bullies in Auggie Pullman's life. This also goes for Auggie's parents and sister as well played by Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Izabela Vidovic respectively. It was difficult to adjust at first, because I was so attached to Auggie's story, but I really appreciated this film taking the time to round out his family and friends. The film even chooses to have particular sequences in the other character's perspectives, which brings up an interesting topic the film covers. That is, the idea of equating your problems with those of someone in a different position than you. Auggie, having a facial deformity, certainly goes through a great deal of pain as the grade and most of society doesn't view him as a normal kid. However, the film also provides other characters with their own issues like Via (his sister) not receiving any attention from her parents, Miranda's (Via's friend) parents being divorced, and Jack Will (Auggie's best friend) having to forcibly hang out with him at first. By no means are some of those issues at the same level as Auggie's, but I appreciate this story taking the time to detail the supporting characters and not just show them as people without a backstory, which is what plenty of films do. Overall, Wonder is a film I didn't expect to love so much. My only complaints, which are very minuscule to the ultimate plot, are one particular small plot decision (that I know the book also did) late in the third act which I felt was entirely unnecessary and a little bit manipulative. Aside from that, the film is perhaps 7-10 minutes too long, but there's so many things to hang your hat on that those complaints didn't matter in the long run. It's as endearing as it is earnest in its storytelling, and we need more movies like that these days. 9.4/10
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