Film Review: “The Wonders” (2014) ★★★★


The country life. The honey making. The struggles the family must face every day to make ends meet. Everything changes for Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lungu) and her three sisters when a famous show comes to their country. They are there to choose the family that values traditional life the most, and moreover, is capable of making something unique that will stand apart from the others. Is this the long-awaited change Gelsomina has been waiting for; to escape a life she wants no part of? Or, another sign to stop dreaming of a better life?

First of all, The Wonders is for those who are familiar with the European style of film where there is no fantasy, only reality. This becomes obvious in the opening scene where we find the family living in a rundown house, with lots of debt, and are at risk of being kicked out of their home at any time. In addition to these problems, add a father, who has no desire to improve his family’s life style. He is old fashioned, stubborn, and overprotective.


When Gelsomina finds out about the countryside competition, she urges her father (Sam Louwyck) to sign up, since this may solve all their financial problems. Despite her father’s negative answer, Gelsomina fills out the papers in secret, hoping that winning the competition will end their uneventful, routine life. And she is right. Even though she does not know whether the family will compete or not, just the attempt itself brings lots of changes; changes that will last forever.

The Wonders is one of those films that will keep the viewer around seeking answers long after it is over. Some may find this film to be about nothing, but some of you might find it quite educational, and a film that brings you great peace of mind. This does mean that the film delivers what it intends in the beginning. But, what makes this film so wonderful is the incredible and quite impressive performances delivered by the two lead actors, Gelsomina and Marinella. Watching Agnese Graziani performance is a delight, while Maria Alexandra Lungu’s purity, naiveté and determination to lead her family, even if it’s nowhere, is mesmerizing.

The Wonders is not your typical film, and its plot is not as obvious as it may appear. This is why if you expect something ordinary, with a quick resolution, then it`s better to watch something that will leave you less disappointed. Because The Wonders is quite unusual and will keep the audience thinking about it even after the film ends. And, the good news is, when it comes to European films, there is no point looking for a right answer, because there is no right answer when the story touches human lives. All we have to do is watch and picture the life The Wonder`s heroes have… maybe then, and only then, we will finally understand what it was all about…

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