Wonder (I) (2017)
User ReviewsReview this title
Yet, as soon as Auggie is introduced to fellow classmates, his overly-cutesy narration goes "you can tell a lot about people by their shoes". Camera pans down. "The trust fund kid. The hand-me- down kid. The crazy one" (cut to clip of the girl being attention seeking, as if to reinforce Auggie's assumptions). The audience is supposed to lol along.
How is this fair? Immediately Auggie is stereotyping kids before they've even spoken, something he himself is plagued by.
Similarly, it then introduces one bully after another, always 'curing' the first bully (with a message of "hey - with a bit of kindness, even bullies turn happy and become your best friend!") before moving onto the next. Of course, despite all this "see the real person inside" malarky, the film can't help but introduce some 'super-bullies' (older 7th graders!) who the kids delight in beating up as they 'bond' as new found friends.
Then, Auggie receives a recognition prize despite all the other kids being the ones who help him - often having to fight against his negative expectations and assumptions of their agenda.
Its very confused and jarring in its messages. Wonder is absolutely your 'safe' family film where everyone bumbles along to happy- plinky-plonky piano music, and any problems are soon solved with a hug. It takes place in an ideal world where anxieties, insecurities, bullies, and all complex human issues are solved via simplistic and contrived 'fixes' (normally involving hugs).
I would like to say this doesn't matter because kids and families just want light entertainment - but I think it really does matter. Films have so much more power to inspire and share human truths and complexities, there's no real point in just passing the time with something so shallow.
It is an emotional, funny & uplifting story. I was fully sympathized with August Pullman. It was so wonderful to see and feel everything through him. The way he describes everything is so beautiful. Also, knowing the story from the perspective of certain characters made a strong connection between me and them.
I read the book. It was awesome too. Some details were changed in the movie but were good changes and there are some details from the book I hoped the movie to show it and it didn't but that didn't affect the movie in a negative way. Everything was simple, clear and on point. The movie has strong messages about kindness, love, appreciating everyone for who they are and true friendship.
Jacob Tremblay proves again his talent as an actor. You won't recognize him because of the makeup but his expressions, voice and eyes were really persuasive. All the kids are amazing. Izabela Vidovic surprised me a lot. Julia Roberts is excellent and Owen Wilson was great. He was exactly as I imagined him while reading the Book.
Finally, Stephen Chbosky. Great job man! Once again he made me care about the characters and he portrayed them beautifully specially the kids. He let them shine in every scene.
I loved this movie so much. I had a great and enjoyable time with it. I laughed and cried. It is pure and heartwarming. This is a perfect family movie.
This was brilliantly done and has a positive message for all ages and all walks of life. I highly recommend it for anyone!
That's not exactly what happens in real life, and that's what pissed me off.
I was bullied during my childhood and teenagehood, both in middle and high school, only because I was the classroom nerd. I didn't even have a deformity and I was tortured by verbal and physical abuse, and the children were relentless and merciless. Not a single one dared have some empathy for me or tried to talk to me. They'd be more and more cruel everyday, and the school's principal didn't give a damn about my situation either. That's because I was only a nerd! Now imagine what it'd be like for a child with a facial deformity in real life.
I know this movie wants to be motivating and wants to spread the message about being yourself and respecting other. I also see solid performances by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. But this movie is not realistic. Bullying is much worse than that and bullied kids suffer much more than that.
Auggie is a sweet boy who has a loving family who don't treat him any differently, especially his mother (beautifully played by Julia Roberts). While he is home-schooled for most of his life, she finally decides that it's time for him to go to school, much to the initial dismay of his father (Owen Wilson) who is fearful about how he might be treated.
Auggie also has a loving, but lonely sister, Via (incredible performance by Izabela Vidovic) who adores her brother but finds herself feeling like she's on the sidelines of the family due to the attention her parents give Auggie.
Of course, much of the story is about Auggie integrating into school and the challenges he faces, especially socially. While it works very well, we are given some somewhat "cliched" characters here. We have the bully who can only make fun of him. We have the sweet girl (Summer) who likes him but is initially afraid to show it, and we have the boy who is a friend but is peer-pressured into hurting Auggie.
The triumph of the performances really must go to Jacob Tremblay (Auggie) and Izabela Vidovic. Both of these actors have bright futures ahead of them.
The film is touching and it interestingly enough, decides to use much of the story to share the perspectives of the main characters, telling the story from their points of view. While this was a good way to delve into the mindsets of these characters, and give us some depth as far as they are concerned, the movie ends up missing out on a golden opportunity.
It seems that most filmmakers these days are trying to tell touching stories without becoming overly sentimental or being bogged down in melodrama. It is a fine line, but when you are afraid of delving deeper, you risk leaving your story too much on the surface.
The movie would have been much stronger had they focused on Auggie entirely, and leave the exploration of the other characters to function and grow through their interactions with him. I found myself wanting more Auggie! I wanted deeper situations with his family, his friends, and the trials and tribulations of integrating into a middle school environment. Movies that do this well are movies that audiences end up cheering for.
Still, the movie works, for the most part, and it should be a "must- see" for anyone who has been bullied or anyone who has been a bully. Most people still don't get how truly terrible and horrific bullying is.
Wonder tells the story of Augie Bloom (Jacob Tremblay), a 10-year-old boy who attends school for the first time, after his mother (Julia Roberts) had previously home-schooled him. His journey hits all the affecting, though predictable notes. He encounters bullies, a nice kid, an understanding and comforting principle, and a hip young teacher who possesses the wisdom of someone much older.
Nothing on Augie's journey's will surprise you, but I challenge you to resist the emotional ebbs and flows along the way. That's the movie's main objective. It wants to make you cry and it succeeds in doing so. Aside from a few occasions in which it resorts to shameless manipulations, you won't feel too terribly about giving in to the feel-goodness.
The performances are sincere, even if the actors are more so playing clichés than thoughtfully-formed characters. Julia Roberts shines are the tough and loving mother. Owen Wilson plays the dad with his familiar cool guy with a big heart routine. It works. While he plays a supporting role in Augie's life compared to mom, he keys some of the pivotal moments of Augie's growth. Augie's sister Via (Isabela Vidovic) dutifully asks little of her parents, knowing how much work and attention they must give to her brother.
The best part of the movie is that we see multiple perspectives, like that of Via. Several times during the movie, a different character's name appears on screen and we see his or her story. Via is one. Augie's friend Jack Will (Noah Jupe, tremendous young actor) is another. Via's best friend's personal story, who inexplicably distances herself from Via this school year, is the most illuminating. Director Stephen Chbosky's makes a wise choice to cover the story from other points of view. From this we can see not only Augie's story, but also the impact that he has on others.
Though I'd like to have seen the material speak for itself more often, rather forced upon viewers in a way that feels, well, forced. We're going to feel sorrow during Augie's struggles and uplifted during his triumphs. Additional attempts to emotionally manipulate aren't necessary. Luckily, they don't overshadow the movie's warm moments or its wonderful message.
The winning moments outnumber the sigh-worthy ones. And the overall effect is charming. Augie really is a great kid. It's okay to shed a tear and smile.
If the story had only focused on Auggie it would have been good, but what set it apart was that it branched out. A lot of time is devoted to his sister, Via, as she is also facing a tough transition in her life as she begins high school. She is used to having to take care of herself because Auggie requires so much attention and she is able to put her own problems on the backburner to be there to support her little brother.
They also look through the eyes of some of Auggie and Via's friends to see how Auggie has impacted their lives. This really helps the viewer connect with the film and really makes it work as a engrossing and heartwarming picture.
As unlike a child actor without disfigurement, he wouldn't be able to clean the movie makeup off afterwards. Therefore other kids and even adults in the real world would assume that the young actor is still in character, and bullied even more for it. The movie would only enforce the focus even more on his real life disfigurement in the real world and less on the young actor who played him. Therefore I feel that it was a wise insightful appropriate move. If it was an adult character then I would question it...Anyway back to the movie.
It was...okay. But it didn't nail the true reality. I identified with a few things especially the bullying. But as I suspected this movie would be which is a major problem of what a lot of these kind of movies have, it feels much too sanitised.
The kid dealt with it a lot better than I did, a lot better than many do. But maybe it is partly because he has the unrealistic perfect movie parents and idyllic family life, and of course as I also suspected would happen he receives a standing ovation from the whole school at the end and everybody is now his friend. As Gargamel would say "How sickeningly sweet!".
In the real world quite often the bullying is relentless right to the end where even teachers and head teachers don't do a damn thing, and even victim blame, and that it often continues into adult life with even more discrimination. I know this from hard experiences.
Another thing, as somebody else pointed out and I agree, the main character "Auggie" started talking about how you can tell someone from their shoes. Trust fund kid, crazy kid, hand-me-down kid.....Why would he judge others on their appearance when he gets similar treatment himself? I realise the narrative is probably there to suggest that everybody can be unfairly stereotyped, but for me in the real world I think we with severe facial disfigurements have learned to be less superficial than that.
I for once would like to watch a real hard hitting gritty realistic movie, from childhood through to adulthood where it doesn't have the perfect sanitised happy TV movie ending. Not necessarily a really sad unhappy ending, but at least an ending where it shows that he or she as an adult has learned life's harsh lessons the hard way through the comtinuing bigotry of others through lifr. Show the world what many of us still go through.
The child actor should again be played by someone who isn't disfigured for real formthe reasons I gave, but an adult actor who is more emotionally mature and equipped to deal with the cruel comments in the real world should be played by an actor who is.
"Wonder" is a sweet movie with good intentions, worth watching the once and it does show a degree of empathy which we need more of these days, but it is still typical TV movie syrupy and sanitised melodrama stuff, that isn't near realistic enough. I hope one day it might inspire a more insightful educating movie and portray the reality of living with facial disfigurements (and maybe even added speech impairment) even if it alarms and shocks people. It would send a more powerful message and that would be a good thing.
The problem was that in teaching a lesson, Wonder completely overstated the point. The movie wants us to view Auggie as a whole, dynamic person rather than as a deformed boy, but it gives us little motivation to do so. We do not connect with Auggie. He seems distant and too focused on his own problem for us to relate to him. We rarely see his fun, smart, confident side - the traits that make a movie character likable.
The movie has little depth. One would think that a movie focused on exploring the emotional struggle of a misfit kid could provide more heart-rending, memorable conflict, but Auggie only seemed to feel real sadness once - when his best friend turned on him - and even then the movie did not inspect his feelings close enough for us to be truly moved.
Wonder had potential to be a good movie, but in the end it never gave us the depth of conflict that we deserved.
Wonder is the 'heart-warming true story' of a boy who has a facial disfigurement and affects the lives of those around him. In all fairness, Wonder isn't a bad film. It's well-made and entertaining enough but certainly isn't anything memorable. It feels like an Oscar-bait movie but I have a suspicious feeling that Stephen Chbosky will be winning as many Oscars as he did for his previous debut, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
It's likely to gain comparisons to the superior 1985 film, Mask due to having a central character facing similar issues. However whilst Mask handled the subject with maturity and objectiveness, Wonder smothers on the treacle and treats the audience like children who have an irrational phobia of people whose appearances are abnormal. In that sense, Wonder is a fantastic film for children to see and I was delighted to see plenty at my free screening with their tight parents.
So the film basically ticks off every cliché in the book. Deformed boy gets bullied, deformed boy finds friend and then falls out with said friend, deformed boy gets new friend etc. but it was nice to see a focus on other characters such as his neglected sister. It's interesting though how the other big character, Julian doesn't get a similar backstory. Maybe it has something with him being a two- dimensional bully?
No doubt audiences are going weep and applaud, and the film will do well at the box office. However, I prefer my movies with a sense of Haneke-realism to them. The saddest films I've seen feature absolute zero sentimentality. Requiem for a Dream rips your heart out and stamps on it. If Wonder wanted a similar effect, then it failed miserably. As a children's film however, it's fabulous and carries an extremely positive message which wraps itself in a lovely bow in the finish.
Title (Brazil): "Extraordinário" ("Extraordinary")
"I can't wait for Halloween!" exclaims Auggie. While it's not difficult to imagine any kid looking forward to this big day, very few would share Auggie's reason. Through narration, he informs us that he's "not an ordinary kid". After a startling birth, he's been through 27 surgeries. Auggie has genetic facial deformities, and it's not the Halloween candy he anticipates; it's the one day with a level- playing field for him, as other kids wear their costume masks and he can simply blend in. Feel the tug on the heartstrings yet? You will.
Jacob Tremblay (ROOM) plays Auggie, and Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson play his loving parents. Until now, he's been home-schooled by Mom, but it's 5th grade and time for "real" school. Auggie's older sister Via is played beautifully by Izabela Vidovic. This is very much her story as well. She carries a burden that few understand, and even briefly finds peace in her fabricated time as an "only child". Previously, she had described Auggie as the sun, and the rest of the family as orbiting planets. Not only is it a wonderful performance from Miss Vidovic, but kudos to the filmmakers for casting a 16 year old actress as a high schooler. Typically these roles go to actors in their mid-20's (a pet peeve of mine).
The film kicks into gear, and we really begin to get to know Auggie, once school starts. Mandy Patinkin plays the principal Mr. Tushman (a name he embraces), and we get the expected nice kid Jack Will (Noah Jupe), the rich bully Julian (Bryce Gheisar), and the popular girl Charlotte (Elle McKinnon). Some of the characters have various segments of the film named after them, and though these are quite loosely told, they do provide some semblance of structure to the film and keep viewers focused on the diverse personalities. A Science Fair, field trip and school play (Our Town) each provide critical turning points, and of course, most of the film is based on Auggie's impact on those whose path he crosses.
Although we are subjected to one of Julia Roberts' patented cackles, it doesn't ruin the sentiment or message that Auggie delivers. Daveed Diggs has a nice turn as a teacher, and the always wonderful Sonia Braga makes a much-too-brief appearance. Director Chbosky previously gave us the gem THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, and this time out he allows us to explore the fragility of friendship and family, and the importance of toughness in an individual. The ending is pure Hollywood, but we should accept the crowd-pleasing cheesiness and be thankful for a pleasant, entertaining family movie.
"We need a renaissance of wonder. We need to renew, in our hearts and in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial sense that life is miracle and magic." - E. Merrill Root (1895 - 1973) American Writer
Jacob Tremblay plays Auggie ; he has really given a very fine, artistic and genuine performance as a boy with facial differences / deformities. Owen Wilson has given a decent performance as Auggie's daddy ; however, he has been denied a fair deal because Owen's role is very limited in the movie. Julia Roberts sparkles in the role of Auggie's Mom. Izabella plays the role of Auggie's sister, and she also excels in her role.
The director, Mr Chbosky , has done an inspirational work in this movie. He has captured the sweetness and healing effects of feel-good films like this lovable "Wonder". Mr Chbosky uses a round-robin chapter style of story-telling ; some segments of the movie are named after certain characters. He has also managed to squeeze out good performances from all actors in the movie. I would love to become a story-writer for movies, because I have also got some interesting and inspirational stories in my mind.
"Wonder" stars the standout Jason Tremblay of Room. This time, he's grown up and plays Auggie, a 5th Grader and not a five year old as he did in Room. The other standouts include Noah Jupe as Jack, his friend, Bryce Gheisar as Julian, his bully, and Izabela Vidovic as Via (Olivia), his sister. Owen Wilson snarks his way though the film with a some decent dialogue and not much else. Julia Roberts is okay and only slightly nauseating as the mother. Again, the dialogue elevated her performance until the last scenes.
In the end, "Wonder" fell apart like a cheap computer that has just passed it's warranty date. Stephen Chbosky's directing of "Wonder," based on the book by R.J. Palacio, is okay, but nothing special. The writing saves a few scenes, the dialogue at least, but the ending ruined a perfectly decent film.
The music was too loud and overbearing, especially during the last unbelievable moments of a film the writers ruined by making sure we were all uplifted by the special moment. In fact, the events in the film for Auggie, a physically deformed boy from birth, pass too easily and with few complications. It would have made a great after-school special, a cliché insult that is totally appropriate here.
The start of the movie brought us into the drama in an interesting manner by slowly introducing us to Auggie, his issues, and his challenges going to school. Another thing the film does well is show how the drama played just not for Auggie, the child with the genetic disfigurement, but how it affects his sister, his sister's best friend Miranda and his friend Jake.
My mom said "Wonder" was long. It seemed long, although it was less than two hours. That's not a good sign. If I were to rate the movie from the first third, I would say pay full price. But after thinking about the ending of the film I have to rate it lower.
Rating: Rent it.
The maudlin ending ruined a well constructed opening. But don't blame Tremblay or the other child actors. Blame the writers and director who seemed to think they needed a rousing, over the top ending to sell tickets to a film-going public he seems to think are emotionally retarded.
This film is basically saying 'Life sucks whether you have a facial deformity or not'.
Julia Roberts is great (as per). Owen Wilson is in a film that isn't an utter embarrassment for once (way to go).
But the film feels like an overlong episode from some bright and breezy TV show. Theres no real depth even though the subject of someone being different could be examined perceptively in relation to human nature and people's vicious pack mentality.
Theres also some vile stereotyping going on here. All the bullies within the film are white and stinking rich. The goodies either have a facial deformity, are related to him, aren't white or are a member of another religion (the Jewish headmaster). Social justice filmmaking. Urgh.
If John Waters had made this film, the lead character would have accentuated his unique looks, dressed in drag and owned this film. Maybe Mr Waters could remake this. In fact I think hes already made that film- it had songs, dance routines, Divine and was called Hairspray.
Watch Mask instead. You get Cher and bikers thrown in as well.
First, I should state that I read the book. The movie adaptation stays pretty close to the book, and definite captures the tone and structure.
Second, what the heck is wrong with this being lighthearted? No, it was not meant to be a poster of what bullying is always like. I saw comments along the lines of, "I was bullied and this is crap bc it's so much worse." Please don't compare your experience to this fictional movie/book. It is not meant to be a representation of bullies and the bullying experience everywhere.
Third, if you found this shallow or thought it was just meant to talk about bullying you're just plain wrong. Several characters were deeply developed and multi-dimensional. Not one character is perfect (although Summer comes pretty close).
Fourth, the point you missed. This story is about a family that struggles with their own personal things as well as an issue with one family member that affects them all in different ways. The friendship storylines are similar. The point of this book (and it was definitely written for younger audiences, that should be noted), is to give kids a broad overview of how bullying affects others and ways they can combat it. I love that the ending raises Auggie up: the point is how a family can support one another and how that can create resilience in a child and then how the larger community can work together (and in some instances, confront and change) to cheer one another on. Is this idealistic? YES. Is it meant to be, to teach and illustrate a lesson on how things can be if we work together, first in our own homes and then in our communities? YES.
One final note, because I see people do this over and over again now with movies and literature. To the person who said something along the lines of, "it's so hypocritical that we're supposed to be rooting for people to not judge Auggie and then he judges people by their shoes." Did you just need to feel offended and self-righteous? My gosh. This is real. awe all judge people, if Auggie didn't, who himself is constantly judged, then how would he be relatable at all? The author (and the movie) go on to challenge these assumptions. The "hand-me-down" kid is a friend, then messes up, then tries to make it right. The "crazy" girl consistently pushes back against the bullying in a way that many kids do (it's less confrontational and more socially acceptable); that's real. And the "trust fund" kid continuously pushes his privilege around in often mean ways, that we all sometimes do without thinking. There had to be a bully somewhere for the story to even unfold, right? And turns out his mom does the same: back to the point of it starting at home.
Okay, I'm done being annoyed with humanity now. <3
Just enjoy the movie and use it to teach your kids to support one another in the home and stand up for what's right when they're not home.