Review: Sometimes the World Needs a Little Wonder


Google Images

Movie poster for Wonder.

The long-anticipated film adaptation of R.J. Palacio’s best-selling novel Wonder hit theaters on Nov. 17, and to say the least, it lived up to expectations. The story surrounds Auggie Pullman, an ordinary 10-year-old boy with an aptitude for science and a love for his family. Normal as he may seem, there is something that has forever kept Auggie away from the public, held captive to either a hospital bed or the confines of his bedroom, and apart from the elusive “ordinary.”

One of the great novels of our time…I had to tell this story.

— Director R.J. Palacio

Born with severe facial deformities, he tries to navigate life with his dedicated family by his side every step of the way. The film follows Auggie as he sets out to face his most harrowing challenge to date (harder than his upwards of 20 surgical procedures): school, real, live middle school. Up until this point, Auggie, portrayed by Jacob Tremblay, has been home-schooled by his mother Isabel, played by Julia Roberts. With the support of his mother; his father, Nate (Owen Wilson); his sister, Via (Isabela Vidovic); and of course their lovable family dog, Daisy, Auggie steps into middle school for the very first time and finds more than ever before that the world is an unforgiving place for someone as “unordinary” as him.

Throughout his journey through fifth grade, Auggie discovers his fair share of foes, and more importantly, his small but mighty pack of friends. The story of Wonder, along with the spectacular acting performances by the cast, proves that kindness does in fact still exist in the modern world, however unlikely it may seem. Auggie’s downfalls and triumphs of his seemingly unique life are undoubtedly relatable to those of anyone growing up; while his insecurity is quite literally written upon his face, the rest of us generally hide our flaws deep beneath the surface. The film’s impressive ability to appear relatable to a wide range of audiences is further emphasized by the genius tactic of switching between various perspectives throughout the film, including those of Auggie, his sister, her boyfriend, and his classmates.

Stephen Chbosky, director of the film, returned to the scene after a five-year hiatus from the industry to take on Wonder. When asked what made this film special enough to return to directing, he said that R.J. Palacio had written “one of the great novels of our time” and that he “had to tell this story.” Chbosky is not alone in this thought, and the film has been amazingly received in just its first few weeks in theaters. This touching story, along with the magnificent effects it has on those fortunate enough to see it, proves that Auggie Pullman truly is a “wonder.” This film is both a refreshing breath of fresh air and a heart-lifting reminder that when given the choice, one should always “choose kind.”