Starring: Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Mandy Patinkin, Elle McKinnon (Rated PG – 113 min).
Based on the best-selling novel by R.J. Palacio. August Pullman, an individual in every sense of the word, is a ten year old boy wonder who just happens to have a severe skin facial deformity known as Treacher (Collins Syndrome). Due to the fragile medical condition, his loving mother Isabel (Julia Roberts) conducts homeschooling but the time has come for Auggie to go to an actual learning institution entering 5th grade.
Everything about Auggie is special: knowledgeable, agreeable, vulnerable and honest. He struggles naturally with the impact of negativity from most fellow students however struggles with fitting in. It’s only a matter of time before being the most popular kid in school. You just know it’s coming although heartstrings will be pulled and tears will flow before the inspiring closing scenes. All you need is a pulse to feel sincerity of Auggie’s plight of acceptance and making friends.
Slowly paced for a reason, the kid characters are mostly anything but pedestrian; from the bully to the sweet girl, they have slight differences to keep things interesting. Inevitable sentimentality aside, Wonder is a delight from beginning to end and will make one laugh as much as it will make one cry with joy.
Julia Roberts continues to impress 30 years into her stellar career. Moments of one-on-one with Jacob Tremblay (Room) as Auggie are amazing to view – opposite acting generations on top of their natural emotional game.
Broadway singing extraordinaire and Inigo Montoya of 1987 Princess Bride fame, Mandy Patinkin as the school principal will make you gush. Owen Wilson dials down his usual outrageousness as the self-confessed cool father adding playful humour and passion for family.
No Oscar contender but look no further than this for a contemporary coming of age story, just with a few more challenges for the wondrous protagonist.
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