Words: Natalie Keane
Based on the bestselling novel by R. J. Palacio, the movie Wonder hit theaters on November 17, sharing a message of complete authenticity to viewers. For a movie seemingly aimed at kids, Wonder does an unusually good job of bringing depth and underlying wisdom to the screen, while still being clear enough for younger viewers. With important life lessons threaded through each individual character’s story, it surprisingly could appeal to not just the movie’s aimed demographic of kids, but to much older people as well.
Thankfully, the movie proved to be a near exact replica of the book, and it was a relief to know that the author of the book had a large part in producing the on-screen adaptation. Just as the book is written, the movie begins showing the seemingly minor life of a kid who desperately wants to fit in, but then expands into a movie about community, kindness, and how the decisions we make can affect people in ways we don’t know.
The message of Wonder is clear. The year-long story surrounds 10-year-old Auggie Pullman, who has a facial deformity and is going to public school for the first time. As he navigates through the fifth grade, we watch his character as well as many of the other children at his school go from being closed off and unwilling to accept change to people who work to see beyond their own differences and connect with each other. The movie starts off in Auggie’s point of view, but as the story progresses, the perspectives switch between each of the characters and their stories relative to Auggie’s. Through these differing perspectives from the same year, director Stephen Chbosky doesn’t fail to bring a sense of warmth and genuineness to the screen.
It is often forgotten that sometimes there can be more to a movie than just the entertaining aspect, and Wonder represents this perfectly. Once you dig down to the very roots of why this story was made, you find that there is so much more than what this film seems to be on the surface. It is a lesson that so many people have difficulty learning, which is a lesson of hardship, acceptance, and ultimately, how the choices we make show who we truly are, not anything else.
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