Wonder is a drama film based on the novel of the same name by R.J. Palacio. It follows the story of a young boy named Auggie Pullman played by Jacob Tremblay who has a facial deformity. After being home-schooled for all his life by his mother Isabel played by Julia Roberts, Auggie is enrolled into middle school for the first time where he will be with children his own age. Although at first Auggie is treated differently and struggles to befriend his fellow students due to the way he looks, the children and school all gradually learn to love and accept Auggie for who he is.
While I’m already a fan of Julia Roberts and her on-screen husband Owen Wilson as Nate, it is the children that truly shine in Wonder. Jacob Tremblay is wonderful as Auggie who is sensitive, smart and courageous. Noah Jupe plays Jack Will who is Auggie’s best friend, appearing open-hearted and thoughtful. Mille Davis shines as Auggie’s other friend, Summer who is a good listener, mature and understanding. I was surprised and delighted to see Daveed Diggs as Mr. Browne who makes his feature film debut in Wonder, mostly known for his Tony Award winning performance in musical, Hamilton. It was also great to see the immensely talented Mandy Patinkin as school principal Mr. Tushman who is sweet, non-judgemental and protective of his students. I honestly wish I had kind-hearted principal like Mr Tushman growing up.
The film’s format follows much like chapters of a book with the characters Auggie, Via, Jack Will and Miranda each taking the lead to narrate their own story arcs. I haven’t read the novel myself, but I really enjoyed this style of narrative helping us get to know each character on a personal level. I also thoroughly enjoyed the random Star Wars references which were delightfully amusing and wonderfully executed. I loved the story and found myself tearing up quite early on in the film, so I guess I practically cried for most of the movie.
Wonder is a heart-warming film that will tug at your heartstrings, impress you with the talents of the cast, inspire you to open your heart, be kind to others, and will move you to tears. I can’t recommend it enough. It is wonderful.