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February 12, 2018

Wonder (2018) --- "Young Boy With A Birth Defect Discovers That Being Different Is Better Than Being Invisible."

Plot Summary
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. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Director Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) adapted R.J. Palacios’ best-selling novel Wonder, a funny and uplifting story, and turns it into a cinema wonder for families. Upon learning that the story’s premise follows a young boy with facial differences, you know that the film is going to tug on your heartstrings and make anyone weep unashamedly. And Wonder (2017) does exactly that with an unforgettable journey.

      Chbosky along with writers Steve Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) and Jack Thorne (National Treasure) wrote a vividly colorful and brilliant screenplay that was understandable as well as intelligent enough that both kids and adults will love it. While the story mainly focuses on Auggie’s journey, at times we see a name pop up which introduces another character’s perspective – such as Auggie’s sister Via, Auggie’s friend Jake Will (Noah Jupe), and Via’s friend Miranda (Danielle Rose Russell).This is the best part of the film because it gives us an insight into the world around Auggie, that he’s not the only dealing with stuff. For instance, a lot of time is given to Via and her journey as a freshman in high school. Since Auggie requires so much attention Via has had to learn how to take care of herself by putting her problems on the backburner and suppress her feelings for the “sake of Auggie.” But as she meets new people in her journey through high school and as Auggie discovers the world outside of his family, Via learns that her parents are just as supportive of her as they are of Auggie. All in all, the different perspectives allow for the viewers to connect with the story and see how Auggie has impacted the lives of those around him.
     The cast is perfect, the performances are sincere, and the characters are beautifully portrayed in a way the lets them shine in their own way. I first saw Jacob Tremblay in Room (2015) and let me say that he is a very talented young actor. Through his facial expressions and mannerisms, Jacob’s portrayal of Auggie is impactful and uplifting. The rest of the characters are great and compliment Auggie well. Izabela Vidovic (The Fosters) is surprising as the dutifully older sister and her journey through the film is just as memorable as Auggie’s. Julia Roberts (Smurfs: The Lost Village) and Owen Wilson (Cars 3) are perfect as Auggie and Via’s parents. Roberts is amazing as the strong and loving mom, and Wilson is great as the big hearted-cool dad and provides a few key moments of growth to Auggie’s character. Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride’s Inigo Montoya) as Principle Tushman and Daveed Diggs (Ferdinand) as Auggie’s teacher Mr. Browne hold the rest of the film together by providing a few moments to share some words of wisdom. Both encourage Auggie’s classmates as well as their parents to not judge a person by their appearance alone, Mr. Tushman even states, “Auggie can’t change how he looks, so maybe we should change how we see.”

     Overall, Wonder (2017) is a wonderful film for families. The journey of Auggie and the impact he has on those around him is heartfelt and tear-jerking. The film's message is sincere and encourages the audience to see past a person’s outward appearance and see the beautiful person inside. In addition, the film also encourages you to be kind to people because that might just be what someone needs to brighten up their day.

"You can't blend in when you were born to stand out."
- Via [to Auggie]

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  8 of 10 stars
Worth Buying:  8 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar 
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The BFG (2016)
The Book of Life (2014)
Charlotte's Web (2006)
Coco (2017)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017)
Holes (2003)
Hoot (2006)
Hotel for Dogs (2009)
Hugo (2011)
Madeline (1998)
Matilda (1996)
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (2016)
Peter Rabbit (2018)
Paddington (2015)
Paddington 2 (2018)
Ramona and Beezus (2010)

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