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Film Review: “Wonder” (2017) ★★★★


What is the true definition of beauty? Is it something physical? Maybe someone who looks likable in your eyes? How do we see this world? Is life beautiful? Or is it ugly in the eyes of those who have failed to notice the goodness of everything alive? Hear me out, my dear reader! I am not here to start a complex discussion or analysis of life. Of course, we all see it differently. Yet, I hope to deliver the genuine picture of what the film “Wonder” has to offer.

In very simple words, this story is more humane than most humans are. It’s like a magnet that takes the ugliness away, leaving only the true side of the human nature that we are so proud of. This film is not just about a boy who has made everyone around him kinder, but it is a story about being good, feeling good and doing things that will eventually bring happiness. Now tell me, does it not sound wonderful? See, I knew it, and now, you do as well.

Based on the New York Times bestselling novel by R.J. Palacio, “Wonder”, directed by Stephen Chbosky, follows August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay). This 10-year-old boy was born with facial differences but grows up as an unlikely hero, who brings out the goodness in people. For years he has not been showing his real face to people. Now, August finally has decided to attend a public school. As expected, this is a challenging journey, which soon turns into a magical experience. We meet August’s sister Via, her friend Miranda, and his newly-made friends from school.

It turns out, that it has been Via’s birthday wish to have a brother. Her parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) did not delay in granting her wish. However, due to a rare identical gene of the two parents, the boy is born with a so-to-say deformed face. However, that is not what you see when you are introduced to the sweet and charming boy – Auggie. His sister Via has her own struggles to go through. Her friend Miranda decides to keep a distance from her. Jack Will becomes August’s new friend, but he is still not very good at making new friendships, and at some point, he will say something that can jeopardize his friendship with August.

Nate and Isabel adore August. They do everything possible to help him live his life without hiding behind a helmet. It’s understandable that the little boy hesitates to show his face to the world. But soon, he realizes that his face can bring something special to other people’s lives. The film is composed of several short parts, where we learn about August, Via, Miranda, and Jack. There are many other secondary characters as well. As in every good story, there is also someone the viewer will dislike wholeheartedly. And that’s Julian – August’s bullying classmate. When we meet his parents, we realize that this boy did not have many chances to learn any important social skills at home. Perhaps, it is at school, where he can fill in the gap in his education and kindness, that he does not get at home.

“Wonder” is truly a wonderful, heart-warming and uplifting movie about the love we all must feel toward each other. And, of course, physical looks should never matter. It’s about friendship and real values, about uncovering one’s true self and the desire to become a better human being. “Wonder” has its profound way to provide a life-changing lesson not only to adults but children as well. While the performance is not one of the best you have ever seen, it keeps its standards high, as there are such famous actors like Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.

In the end, it’s a worthwhile family drama that will make each and every one of us re-evaluate the way we see the world and take actions to turn it into a better place to live. And that change starts inside ourselves – you and me. Each of us is responsible to become role-models for the new generations.

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