Thursday, December 14, 2017

Movie Review - Wonder

If you are looking for an inspirational, feel-good movie the whole family can enjoy this holiday season, look no further than Wonder.  This film has everything that leaves a moviegoer satisfied—characters you actually care about, themes that matter, and a happy ending.  You might shed a few tears, like I did, but they will be the kind of tears that make you feel something beautiful.

Based on the runaway best-selling book by R.J. Palacio, Wonder takes us into the life and times of August Pullman, a ten-year-old boy born with the kind of severe facial deformities that cause most everyone he meets to respond to him in ways that are very painful.  The movie follows Auggie as he makes his grand entry into the public life of a fifth-grader after previously being home-schooled.  Anyone who has ever been the new kid at school will be able to relate to Auggie's experiences with bullies and the extreme distress of not fitting in.

The movie's storyline is revealed to us as the main characters take turns presenting their perspectives.  I don't always like this cinematic or literary technique, but it works well in this movie.  It is a very effective way of telling the stories within the story and it helped me form bonds with each character.  Getting to briefly run around inside the heads of the supporting characters fleshed out the movie's themes and made them multi-dimensional.

Choose Kind

We are introduced to Wonder's guiding principles through the precepts of Auggie's English teacher, Mr. Browne.  Choosing kindness, a major theme, is unveiled early in Mr. Browne's classroom via this quotation by Dr. Wayne Dyer:
"When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind."
The mark of an exceptional movie, at least for me, is what happens when I step out of the theater after the closing credits.  Last night, upon arriving home, I found myself spending hours online learning more about Treacher Collins Syndrome (Auggie's condition), the Choose Kind movement inspired by Wonder, watching video interviews with families affected by this syndrome, and reading up on how R.J. Palacio came to write Wonder.

Nurture Kindness

This movie is one that will impact me for a very long time.  As a former teen who was bullied for merely being the new kid at my middle school, I have never forgotten the misery and deep pain caused by that experience.  It shaped who I became as a teacher and continues to remind me that we each have an awesome responsibility to nurture kindness in young people.  If I leave no other legacy as a teacher and human being than that of planting seeds of kindness and compassion, I will feel as though I did something meaningful with my life.

I encourage you to take a child or grandchild to see Wonder.  My gifts to young people this Christmas will include the book Wonder, along with related journals and t-shirts that promote the Choose Kind message.  It is just one of the many ways I intend to celebrate the hope and wonder of the season.











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10 comments:

  1. It sounds like a wonderful movie with a message we all need to hear and be reminded of all year round. I love that quote! It doesn't surprise me that you like the movie. The one characteristic that you possess that stands above any others, is that you are always kind. Your kindness towards others is an example for all of us. You make Review This an easier place to work and write. I am personally grateful to have your influence in my daily life. Thank you for the movie recommendation too.

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    1. I deeply appreciate your kind words and affirmation. It means a great deal to me. You always set the tone for all of us who are members of this writing team and community. Thank you for blessing my day with your presence here.

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  2. I have seen the ads for this movie and thought it was a must see. Now, after reading your review I'm sure it is a must see. Thanks for a wonderful review.

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    1. The perfect movie for you to see with your grandkids. It will spark lots of meaningful discussion afterwards. Definitely THE must-see movie of this holiday season. Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate your comments.

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  3. I seldom go to movies anymore, but this one appears to be special. I definitely want to see it after seeing the trailer and reading your wonderful review. I have an Asian grandson who doesn't always 'fit in' with his fellow 3rd graders, yet he is the most wonderful, artistically talented, and kind little boy you ever want to meet. If more people were able to see the WONDER in each individual, there would be no more bullying... and perhaps no more wars. Wouldn't that be WONDERful.

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    1. Like you, I rarely go to see a movie in the theater anymore. However, I knew this particular film was one I couldn't wait to see. I hope you get to watch this movie with your grandson. As a former third grade teacher, I know that students begin to internalize differences at that age. One of the quotes from the movie was this: "You can't blend in when you were born to stand out." The thing that makes each child precious is that difference that sets him apart. Sometimes, though, it is hard to appreciate that when you are young. It's so important for us to reinforce each child's priceless uniqueness and worth.

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  4. Oh my I think this is a movie I need to see. I hope I get a chance before too long. I love feel good movies and think that's a wise way to spend my time and efforts. Thanks for a really good review, I look forward to seeing this.

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    1. I hope you enjoy "Wonder." Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. saw the previews, and am glad to read your review, I was unsure about it, but it really does sound like an excellent movie

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  6. Our whole family wants to see this so we're planning on going over the holidays - I can't wait, although I just know both my husband and daughter will be in tears!

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