Wonder Film Promotes Compassion

Amanda Young, Staff Writer

Wonder, a film drama based on R.J. Palacio’s New York Times bestseller, was released on November 17 and has already garnered a 86% rating by critics and 91% rating from the general audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie follows the heartwarming story of August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a 5th grade boy born with facial deformities, as he enrolls in a mainstream school for the first time. 

The movie also features a number of subplots, including Auggie’s sister Via’s (Izabela Vidovic) unraveling relationship with her former best friend Miranda (Danielle Rose Russell).

The film’s message: be compassionate.

I saw Wonder on its opening night, and I saw it again 5 days later. I had pretty high expectations for the movie; I read the book in 5th grade, and it’s remained one of my favorites for years. Naturally, there are some differences between the movie and book, but I’m still happy with what the film included.

Jacob Tremblay as Auggie Pullman stands out, especially considering his young age. Tremblay is able to capture the essence of what it really must feel like to be judged so harshly based on appearance. Also, although Julia Roberts is already a very accomplished actress, she really shines in Wonder as Auggie’s understanding, sensible mother, Isabel Pullman.

Simple as it may be, the storyline is heartfelt and doesn’t come across as overly sentimental. It is a perfect combination of humor, emotion, and meaningful messages. For a 2-hour film, it packs a punch and offers an intimate glance into the completely realistic and unfortunately frequent occurrences of peer pressure and bullying.

Some of the scenes are heartbreaking – I am generally not a very emotional person when it comes to movies, but I teared up at times. On the other hand, other parts will have you smiling from ear to ear or suppressing a laugh, and I think that any movie that has the ability to make you feel both is special. 

Wonder is a sweet, sincere movie with powerful themes of friendship, family, kindness, standing up for what you believe in, and acceptance.

Auggie’s teacher, Mr. Browne (Daveed Diggs) says, “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”  

I agree.