Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.
August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) was born with a condition known as Treacher Collins Syndrome which is characterized by unusual facial deformities. Because of his many surgeries and his sensitive medical condition, his mom, Isabel (Julia Roberts), has homeschooled him, but now Auggie is going to school for the first time, for 5th grade. This story is a well of emotion and in many ways, the plot follows a very expected path of pulling on every heart string and wrapping everything up in a big beautiful bow at the end.
Even so, the telling of the story is as unique as Auggie and his family are. I think that’s really the special thing about the film: Auggie is special, but so is every other person around him, right down to the family dog, Daisy. The plot perspective shifts between different people in the story around Auggie, so you’ll learn how Auggie’s sister, Olivia (Izabela Vidovic), feels like she’salways had to be the strong, quiet, unneedy child. You’ll glimpse into what Isabel has left behind in her career as a children’s book author and you’ll feel her triumph as she recovers pieces of herself long forgotten. Owen Wilson cast as Auggie’s father, Nate Pullman, makes a great team with Julia Roberts and they add the playful humor and passion that we all know and love in these two actors. You’ll even feel the deep pangs of loss to know that Daisy, the family pet who was always there to greet Auggie when he got home from another surgery, was desperately needed, but maybe overlooked until she is old and dying.
The narration of each character is heavy with sentiment but still meaningful and thought-provoking as you journey through Auggie’s 5th-grade year. It’s his first year to make friends, to know what makes a good friend, to be himself, to relish the good and survive the bad. Really it’s a coming-of-age story, climbing over the hurdles of growing up and running pell-mell through all the wonders of childhood. Auggie learns what it’s like to be a normal 5th grader and we are all challenged to remember that behind every face, there is something very ordinary and also very extraordinary. We are reminded to wonder.
In theaters Friday, November 17th