Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wonder: A Feel-Good Movie with a Sympathetic Message

Movie Review: Wonder (2017)
Version: Library borrow

Sometimes you just want to see a feel-good movie. Wonder is that film.

Auggie (played to perfection by Jacob Trembley) was born with facial disfigurements that required multiple operations and a "lifetime" of parental love and nurturing to help him through its consequences. But it was finally time for Mom and Dad to cut the strings and send him off to school -- to fifth grade -- where he would learn how to navigate the world of real people and their prejudices. This basically is the story of Wonder and the world of August "Auggie" Pullman, his mother Isabel (played by Julia Roberts), his father Nate (played by Owen Wilson), and his sister Via (played by Izabela Vidovic).

In this heart-warming story, Mom sends Auggie off to school, where he faces discrimination, bullying, and false friendships, despite the support of his family and the school principal. Over time, Auggie's classmates come to learn it's not the face but the heart and the spirit that make for the best friends, and his parents come to realize their decision to mainstream their son was the right decision after all.

This film has all the look and feel of any quality independent, which are at their core character driven. You cannot help but embrace Auggie, feel empathy for Isabel and Nate, and give encouragement for Via caught in the middle. Part of it is because of the greatness of the acting, but another part is the story line with its message of compassion for those who are judged by their looks rather than by the content of their character, not to mention the benefit of giving the misguided a second chance.

So, Wonder is good entertainment, but it is also a good vehicle for guiding our families about how to better interact with others. We are not all what we seem. Most of us aren't. Wonder helps us explore that truth in a sympathetic and empathetic and entertaining way. Great viewing for the whole family.

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