It’s another movie night and I finally got to see the much-anticipated Wonder. Wonder is a 2017 American drama that follows a 13-year old boy, Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay ) born with Treacher Collins syndrome, as he faces the world on his own for the first time, and his struggle to fit in.
Due to his extensive facial deformity despite numerous surgeries, Auggie had to be home-schooled by his mother Isabel; played by the lovely Julia Roberts. However, Isabel and Nate Pullman (Owen Wilson) decide it’s time to enroll him in a private school.
This movie is based on the same-titled novel by R.J. Palacio, which I haven’t read yet.
To begin with, I had never heard of “Treacher Collins syndrome” (TCS) before this movie, now that I have, I’m aware and quite petrified that so much about our kids is completely out of our hands. Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS) is a genetic disorder that causes deformities of the ears, eyes, cheekbones, and chin. Associated complications include breathing, eating, seeing and hearing problems. However, this syndrome doesn’t exactly affect the brain, so affected children have a normal intelligence, and life expectancy is generally normal. So, they can tell that they are different, and can tell that by most standards, they are considered unattractive.
This is one of those movies designed to make you cry, but who says crying always has to be a bad thing. The movie focuses and emphasizes the different emotions associated with being considered physically unattractive and stigmatised. It deals with fear of rejection, bullying, isolation, anger and betrayal. But it also showcases love in its sincerest form, friendship, courage, support, kindness, humility and protection by unlikely allies.
Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson are both accomplished actors and they played their roles to perfection. Their family dynamics was smooth and believable. Isabel’s anxiety on her son’s first day of school was palpable and I was so nervous. When she prayed and said “Dear God please make them be nice to him”, I think I cried. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it must be for everyone to think your precious little boy is ugly, to stair and judge him for something that wasn’t his fault.
Despite Isabel’s concerns, and knowing that kids can be mean little monsters, she encouraged her son to try. It was tough for the whole family, but, it turned out to be worthwhile. I feel like, with enough love, anything can live but, with tough love it will certainly thrive. This movie emphasizes the power of a family as a foundation for growth and it’s importance as a strong support system.
Related: Movie Review: Proud Mary
This movie shares a lot about friendship. First, even with grown-ups, we all know when a friendship has changed to something much less. We find ourselves in difficult situations and we disappoint each other. If you don’t talk about it, you’ll just never know. Other times, friends drift away and it has nothing to do with you. They have other things going on in their lives that they’d rather not share. It’s all part of the journey.
It teaches tolerance and addresses bullying, addressing kids who are two-faced and only do the right thing in front of grown-ups and parents.
Finally, this movie is loaded with a lot of cool quotes, some cliché but still worth the reference
- “When given the choice between being right or being kind choose kind.” Basically, rephrased from Anne Lamott’s “It is better to be kind than to be right”.
- “We all have marks on our faces. This is the map that shows where we’ve been and it’s never, ever ugly.” – Isabel
- “You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.” – Via, Auggie’s sister
- “If you don’t like where you are, picture where you want to be.” – Auggie
- “Auggie can’t change the way he looks. Maybe we can change the way we see.” – Principal Tushman
- “I know you don’t always like it but I love it. It’s my son’s face. I want to see it.” – Nate Pullman
Wonder is a great story and I hope you get to watch it. It is a great family movie, enjoyable by both parents and especially enlightening for children. It’s funnier than you’d expect for such a sensitive topic and the family dialogue is well-written. It calls for self-reflection and reminds us that we shouldn’t prioritise looks and physical beauty, but focus on values like kindness as a universal language of love.
Have you seen Wonder? Let me know what you think in the comments!
As always, thank you for reading!
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Categories: Movies & Music