Adapted from R.J. Palacio’s 2012 novel Wonder tells the story of Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) a brainy 10-year old boy born with Treacher Collins syndrome (a genetic disorder that affects growth and development of the head, resulting in facial abnormalities).
After years of being home schooled by his mother Isabel (Julia Roberts), who knowing that Auggie can’t be shielded from the world forever comes to a decision with his father Nate (Owen Wilson) that Auggie will begin fifth grade at a regular school.
Despite principal Mr. Tushman (an under-stated Mandy Patinkin) and homeroom teacher (Daveed Diggs) having his back, school was never going to be a walk in the park for a boy whose had 27 surgeries since he was born.
Auggie hasn’t even made it through the end of his first day before his Star Wars Padawan braid has him dubbed “Barf Hideous” by classmate Julian who is “one of those kids who acts sweet in front of adults but not so nice in front of other kids.”
Ordinarily, these sort of films are packed with so much saccharine they can be hard to stomach however director Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) manages to trace a year in the life of Auggie and those around him, that delivers an on-point message without ramming it down viewer’s throats.
Wonder offers a lesson in kindness for children and serves as a reminder for adults.
As we reflect on the year that was 2017, it’s not like the world couldn’t use it.
Three and a half stars