Wonder is a drama directed by Stephen Chbosky and written by Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad, and Stephen Chbosky, based on the 2012 novel of the same name by R.J. Palacio. The film follows a child with Treacher Collins syndrome trying to fit in the mainstream. Having had a child born with a Bilateral Clef Lip, I was reluctant to see Wonder. Unlike the parents of Auggie, I never knew what the bullying was like for my child because I was divorced and had a prominent career that kept me from the close relationship between child, school and myself. After seeing Wonder, I was more mellon collie than ever, however it’s not a problem now, just a distant memory, since my daughter is a beautiful, highly educated women with a career of her own. Wonder reflects more on the bullying than anything else.
August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) is a young boy raised in North River Heights in upper Manhattan, New York. He has a rare medical facial deformity, which he refers to as “mandibulofacial dysostosis.” Due to numerous surgeries (27), Auggie had been home-schooled by his parents Isabel Pullman (Julia Roberts) and Nate Pullman (Owen Wilson), but as Auggie is approaching middle school age, Isabel and Nate decide to send him to Beecher Prep, a mainstream private school. Fifth grade is tough for Auggie who is ostracized by nearly all the student body. He is bullied by being called a freak and rumors were spread that kids will get the “plague” if they touch him. He does befriend a boy named Jack Will (Noah Jupe).
Halloween is Auggie’s favorite holiday. He has to wear an old “Ghostface” mask and costume because his dog, Daisy, threw up on his “Boba Fett” costume. He walks around school unrecognized and is not tormented while incognito. As he walks through the door to his homeroom, he overhears his friend Jack telling Julian Albans (Bryce Gheisar) that he was “only pretending to be friends with Auggie.” Feeling betrayed, Auggie leaves school and wants to stay home during trick-or-treating. His older sister Olivia Pullman (Izabela Vidovic: older/Maccie Margaret Chbosky: younger), nicknamed “Via,” tells him she is still his friend and talks him out of it. Auggie later confides the incident to a new friend, named Summer Dawson (Millie Davis), but swears her to secrecy. When Jack notices that Auggie has become quiet and distant he asks Summer why, but she only gives him the clue “Ghost Face”. Jack is shocked when it dawns on him that it was Auggie wearing the Ghost Face costume, and thus had overheard everything he said to Julian. When Julian calls Auggie a “freak,” Jack becomes enraged and punches him in the face. A fight ensues between the two, which is soon broken up by their homeroom teacher Mr. Browne (Daveed Diggs). Jack is suspended for two days for his actions. Jack also apologizes to Auggie and the two friends reconcile. They even team up for a winning science project.
This is probably a good place to leave you wanting to see more of this very sensitive movie that is very well done. The acting is brilliant as is the make-up and directing. I really think everyone should see Wonder, especially “bullies” in hopes Wonder will strike a nerve. Anyone could and should put themselves in Auggie’s shoes, it’s not a very good feeling. I think this is a must see movie for everyone. Wonder can now be seen on DVD and Blu-ray. Check it out!
[Wonder is Oscar nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling]