During the season of Oscar baiting, I sometimes ignore what I think are more ‘commercial’ fares so it took me a minute to see ‘Wonder.’ (I could be a snob sometimes) But, I have heard from so many people who loved this film, so I just couldn’t totally ignore it. Now, I regret the wait because ‘Wonder’ is wonderful. I even think that this is one of my top favorites from all the movies I have seen recently, and that list includes from Oscar front runners.
Simply put, the film made me feel good, and it made me shed tears. Anchored by great performances, the film just made you believe. You believe in the story, you believe in the good that emanates from it, and you believe in the life affirmations that it radiates. The film, based on a book by RJ Palacios and directed by Stephen Chbosky, is about a boy Auggie (Jacob Tembley) who starts going to middle school after being home schooled by his mother (Julia Roberts) Auggie has a facial deformity, and has had numerous plastic surgery operations. There he faces the harshness of life, but takes a lot of it good-nauredly, as he has fantastic disposition in life. I was skeptical with the Julia Roberts performance, as I think most times we see ‘Julia Roberts’ the star instead of the character. But the Julia star power is slightly dimmed here, with her nude lipstick and dowdy cardigans (though she still cannot resist that throaty toothy laugh that we get to see once again here) I do have to admit I thought she was good here, and even matched Owen Wilson’s brodude father to Auggie. Chbosky directs with a soft hand, and the softness emanates throughout the film. Sure, a lot of this felt very manipulative after, but I didn’t feel cheap or used. I gladly succumbed to the wonder of ‘Wonder,’ and heartily recommend the film.