I have actually heard about Wonder from a long time ago. They said the novel was so great, and so I bought it. But later that day, I realize that I just bought a Wonder notebook, instead of the novel! 🙁
But eventually, I got the novel. And from the first few pages, I really like the story. And then, all of a sudden, it’s all out in the cinemas *sigh*.
I don’t have a choice but to watch it then, even though I know that the golden rule is to always, always, read the book before the movie (except for Game of Thrones, dudes).
So, as I predicted, I wanted to cry just when the movie got into its first 20 minutes. It’s just that I have weak knees for disabled people, let alone the story of Auggie Pullman who got facial deviant and about to enter school for the first time. But I truly enjoyed the movie. It gave me new insight, especially because the story is narrated by the Auggie Pullman himself.
It’s just that when I reflect about it after, it feels like nothing’s special. Nothing really WOW-ed me. And the one thing I feel lacking was the conflict/climax. It fell flat.
The first thing that got me excited to watch Wonder the movie (even though I haven’t finished the book) is because of the combination between Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts. Interesting, I rarely see them in the same movie, let alone becoming a pair. Julia Roberts look much older and more mature than Owen Wilson as the dad. And I was intrigued as to why the casting chose Owen Wilson, who is well-known for his funny roles. But as the movie ran, I quickly realize the dynamic between these two; wherein Julia has to be the caring, smart mother, and Owen has to balance her out by being the cool and funny dad.
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Auggie Pullman, on the other hand, the star of the movie, is brilliantly played by Jacob Trembley. This kid is awesome! With his cute little voice and his expressions, we are pulled away to feel what he feels, to rewind the time when we had to face our first day of school, to shake hands with new friends, and what it feels like when no one wants to sit next to us. And the rest of the casts, like Noah Jupe who played Jack Will, Izabela Vidovic who played Via, really completed the whole squad.
For what it’s worth, I think that Wonder is pretty enjoyable. It seems like the producers try to make it look as similar as possible with the novel. Even most of the lines come right from the novel pages. But I think it’s a good thing, because this movie serves as the right alternative for people who don’t read the novel, and not to replace the novel itself.
But, I just have one small teeny complaint about the story plot. I feel like it is too flat and there are many scenes and stories which don’t really give significance to the Auggie Pullman’s life, and yet they put it in just so that the movie has some kind of depth.
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The plot is easy: Auggie got into school – got bullied – betrayed by his friend – got his friends’ respect in the end. It’s typical story with no twist whatsoever. Not that twist is always a good thing, but I feel like the conflict presented in the movie is not big enough. Second, the story is narrated with four perspectives (Auggie’s, Via’s, Jack’s, and Miranda’s). And while all of them have different issues in their lives, they just cut all of it for the sake of August. We never get to see how poor Jack has to survive living without dad, and neither do Miranda. We never get the closure of Via’s feeling toward Auggie. It’s kind of incomplete. They just wrapped it up with a happy family gathering at the end.
Although I feel it kinda bland, but I realize that this movie is intended for kids and teenagers and not necessarily for adults. Wonder is not some psychological movie who wants to raise awareness in complicated issue, it has one simple and good intention – as they said it in the movie:
When given the choice of being right and being kind, always choose kind.
It’s really heartwarming stories, and since we all know that there are kids with many physical differences who got bullied (just like August), now we can empathize more and treat them with equal respect. Wonder did such a good job in delivering that message. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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