If you are in the mood for a very moving story that will allow some tears and smiles come out of your face, let me invite you to watch WONDER, the new film of director Stephen Chobsky (The perks of being a wall flower 2010) with Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as loving and commited parents of a very extraordinary ordinary boy played by Jacob Tremblay (Room).
The first day in a new school can make anyone nervous; making new friends, understanding the dynamics of the classes and the social rules already set up by old students is not easy for any kid, especially for Auggie, who at age of 12 will have the first day of school in his life.
Auggie is a charming, clever and gracious boy who was born with genetic deformations; the scars on his small face show the traces of many plastic surgeries, unable to make him look normal. Auggie had been home schooled until then; he wears an astronaut helmet whenever he has contact with the world outside of his home, where his encouraging mother (Julia Roberts), his loving father (Owen Wilson) and his sister Olivia (Izabela Vidovic) nourish a genuine and confortable environment for him. From the first moments Auggie captures your heart and proves that in the inside he is not very different from any other kid his age; he has good and bad days; loves Star Wars, sports and video games; dislike vegetables, annoys his sister from time to time and dreams of being an Astronaut.
This is the story of Auggies journey in the outside world and his familys trial to let him be exposed into a cruel world, where people judge based on appearances. At school, he is the main target of all sorts of bullying and rejection and despite his good humor and consciousness of the effect his appearance causes in people, Auggie stumbles upon hard times trying to make others realise that he is more than a different face. After one school year his classmates won’t resist the natural glow Auggie radiates and will enjoy the boy’s cleverness, sweetness and good company.
It might be a feel-good movie with some cliché moments and characters, and if so ,it is a well crafted one. Even though Auggie’s journey is the core of the story, there are different chapters focused on the people surrounding him. Olivia, who had been overshadowed by Auggie’s big needs, reinforces the families effort to make Auggie’s life as normal as possible. Jack Will, a boy struggling to keep up a scholarship and who becomes Auggie’s buddy, shows us how stepping forward and giving others a chance can be totally worth it; Miranda, a friend of the family plays an important role in Auggies life and finds a family in his. The different chapters are very well pieced together and give you a deeper understanding of the whole picture.
What works really well is the easy connection you can strike with each character and how that reinforces the idea of the power of friendship, love and family bring in the good and bad times; the self acceptance of and the importance of giving everyone the chance to show us that beyond anyone’s face one can find a wonder.
A good pick for any age!