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Wonderful World (2009)

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Ben Singer has his cynical worldview darkened by his roommate Ibu's sudden medical situation, though the arrival of Ibu's sister, Khadi, might remedy both men's ills.

Director:

Joshua Goldin (as Josh Goldin)

Writer:

Joshua Goldin (as Josh Goldin)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Broderick ... Ben Singer
Sanaa Lathan ... Khadi
Michael Kenneth Williams ... Ibu
Philip Baker Hall ... The Man
Jesse Tyler Ferguson ... Cyril
Jodelle Ferland ... Sandra
Ally Walker ... Eliza
Christy Reese Christy Reese ... Cassie
Zacharias Foppe Zacharias Foppe ... Leon (as Zacharias E. Foppe)
Cristen Barnes ... Suzie
Mia Ford ... Maxine - Cyril's Daughter
Paul T. Taylor ... Doug
James Burton ... McRory
Dan Zanes ... Sweeny
John Hambrick John Hambrick ... Judge Bissel
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Storyline

Ben is a failed children's folk singer and less-than-extraordinary weekend dad. Deeply cynical, Ben's sole pleasure in life is derived from chess games with his Senegalese roommate Ibou. When Ibou is suddenly struck ill and an insensitive municipal employee exacerbates the emergency situation, Ben's pessimistic world view seems unequivocally confirmed. But when Ibou's sister Khadi takes his place in their apartment, what starts as an awkward living arrangement becomes something more, and Ben finds that cynicism may be all a matter of perspective. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Happiness is a state of mind See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some drug use and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Official site

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English | Wolof

Release Date:

27 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Csodálatos világ See more »

Filming Locations:

Shreveport, Louisiana, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,582, 10 January 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,622, 17 January 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point in the film, Matthew Broderick and Sanaa Lathan are talking about the impossibility of their relationship. Lathan's character says that they are like a hippo and a lion trying to mate. Broderick asks 'who's the hippo. Broderick voiced Simba in the "Lion King" franchise. See more »

Goofs

When Ben folds Ibou's hands after finding him on his bed, you can see Ibou's left hand twitch slightly before Ben touches it. See more »

Quotes

Ben Singer: Thoughts are things, are you one of those things? Is that why you're in my dreams?
The Man: It's all about expectations: she never told you to back off.
Ben Singer: That's pretty obvious.
The Man: How much of your life is your fault, And how much is the world's. That is your big question. You have no career, you've been fired from your job, your own daughter won't speak to you. Bottom line, you can't even earn a living.
Ben Singer: That's what it's all about for you, isn't it? Money.
The Man: Let's leave money out of the equation, what would ...
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Soundtracks

Summer Wind
Written by Dan Zanes
Performed by Dan Zanes
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User Reviews

 
The Find of the Year
24 December 2009 | by ariposnerSee all my reviews

A dramatic gem. "Wonderful World" gives Matthew Broderick his meatiest and most interesting role in years, and showcases the remarkably assured directorial debut of Josh Goldin (who also wrote the classically spare and powerful screenplay). Goldin finds true uplift where most filmmakers might have stumbled into cliché. His story of culture clash and class disharmony, about someone who considers himself "the most negative man in the world," was never anything less than moving and gave me that rarest of experiences in a movie theater: I didn't just love the film, I came out of it wanting to be a better person.

The first half of this movie finds Broderick as an almost jarringly flawed character, an alienated children's singer, struggling with divorce, doing a mediocre job raising his teen daughter, and sinking into self- defeating pessimism. That he manages to overcome these obstacles, and truly regenerate himself, without our feeling as if the movie makers pandered to our craving for a happy ending, is truly remarkable. In part he finds hope in an offbeat relationship with his former-roommate's sister, played with earthy sexuality and witty grace by Sanaa Lathan. But this is really much more than a story of a depressed man being reborn through romance. Goldin has made a touching parable about taking action, about caring for others being the linchpin of happiness in this world.

I can't say too much more about the story, for fear of spoiling its powerful ending, but I defy anyone not to be moved.

Jodelle Ferland is a complete find as the daughter Broderick's character cannot seem to connect with. But it is Broderick himself who steals the show. He has long been one of our most underrated actors, a master of the ordinary devoid of on screen vanity. And not since "Election" have I seen him carry a film so worthy of his skills. His performance is the stuff folks give out awards for, and he should be nominated come Oscar season, along with his director, if this truly is... a wonderful world.


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