by Tim Birkbeck
The honesty of children is something that can either be a blessing or a curse.
So when a school full of new students are introduced to a child who has a facial deformity it is going to raise some questions and bring some quizzical looks.
Meet Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), the central character in Stephen Chbosky’s Wonder. The brainy 10-year-old boy with a sweet high voice and a congenital facial deformity, whom numerous corrective surgeries have left looking like a cherub after a car accident, leads us through his heart-warming film which shows courage comes in lots of different forms.
Adapted from R. J. Palacio’s popular 2012 children’s novel, the film is based around Auggie’s first year at a proper school after being home schooled by his mum (Julia Roberts).
As any youngster will know, making friends can be hard, but when you look like Auggie – who for quite some time has hidden behind his astronaut helmet – it can certainly be harder, and this is the basis of our tale.
Now, that is not to say what the whole film is about. We see how this wonderful – pun intended – 10-year-old has effected others, from his sister Via (Izabela Vidovic) feeling like she has become a shadow or best friend Jack Will (Noah Jupe) whose kind heart is the first to reach out to Auggie.
But the show belongs to Tremblay and Roberts who deliver a real sincere mother / son partnership and will leave any son – no matter how old – to go home and give there mum a massive hug. There are elements of the film where it does feel like Chbosky is rushing to get to the end scene – the nature reserve retreat a prime example as a necessary scene which wasn’t given much depth.
Wonder does over-play its hand at times, but its warm message of inclusion is one which should be shown to all children when they are growing up.
Dir: Stephen Chbosky
Scr: Steve Conrad
Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson, Izabela Vidovic, Julia Roberts, Mandy Patinkin, Noah Jupe, Bryce Gheisar and Elle McKinnon
Music: Marcelo Zarvos
Run time: 113 minutes
Wonder is out on Blu-ray and DVD on March 26