Wonder it’s not a wonderful movie. Everything, from acting to cinematography might be on point and functional to the script, but it’s not an amazing film.
As everyone knows, Wonder tells the story of Auggie, a boy with a rare condition that makes his face look different, and the influence he has on family and friends.
When the trailer first dropped, I was almost sure that the whole movie would have been about Auggie and his struggle integrating into society (which is represented by school), with his parents trying to cheer him up every time he was feeling down.
I was really pleased it was nothing like that.
Yes, we have those moments, mostly because they are needed and given if the parents are good people (and they extremely are). But Stephen Chbosky doesn’t spend too much time on them – he stays there just right.
The movie doesn’t even push the audience to be sympathetic to the character. You’ll obviously feel for Auggie if you’re not an asshole, and probably right from the beginning, but he ain’t perfect. We admire him for his positiveness, sure, but what Wonder does constantly is reminding us he is a kid.
Another great thing is that Auggie is not exactly the protagonist. Like his sister says during the movie: ‘Auggie is our sun, and we are his planets.’ And that’s basically the movie in a nutshell: while we would probably define Auggie the protagonist of Wonder due to technical conventions, I honestly don’t know if I’d define him a such.
You see, he has an arc. But so has everyone else, which eventually end up being greater than his.
For instance, Julia Roberts characters (Auggie’s mother) ends up realizing there’s more in her life than his son, including her daughter Via, who she overlooked for the longest time. Via, on the other hand, learns to fight for herself. All of Auggie’s classmates have a greater arc, including Jack Will, who ends up being Auggie’s best friend.
Funnily enough, Owen Wilson’s father doesn’t really have an arc. He is there for the sole purpose to be the comedy relief. Don’t get me wrong, he does that great, and he still has a great influence on everyone that you can’t take him out of the movie. So, yeah, he is an extremely well written comic relief.
What I didn’t really like about Wonder, is the narration. While the movie makes it look like it couldn’t have been told anyway else, introducing digressions (because it’s all they are) as chapters made it a little clunky, and the clunkiness has to do with the character of Miranda, at least for the most part.
Miranda is Via’s former best friend. They stop being friends right at the start of the new school year, as she became popular during a summer camp. Afterwards, we find out major things about the reasoning behind that popularity. She is, by far, the most interesting character in the story. However, after her digression, we are not told anything more. We don’t really see her reconciling with Via, and we don’t really see her talking about their problems.
That ended up being really annoying.
Anyways, acting wise there’s not much word to spend. Jacob Tremblay confirms his well-deserved infant prodigy status in Hollywood. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson were extremely convincing as parents, and the whole young cast (from mid-schoolers to teens) are really on point.
Writing-wise, well, it does what a tear-jerking movie has to do. I would have loved to have that kind of teachers, and principal, during mid-school. So, yeah, I didn’t buy a lot of things, as they were mostly idealistic than realistic. Granted, I didn’t want to see a teacher who would treat Auggie like shit, but maybe one of the teachers not giving a crap?
Overall, Wonder is not a wonderful movie. However, it really does what it needs to do, and it does it in a very functional way… for the most part.