Disclaimer: I watched Wonder while sitting on the floor, my eyes and hands mostly busy with cutting up pieces of paper. My view of half the screen was blocked most of the time. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and I feel it’s a testament to the strength of its script, that it can be entertaining and insightful, without one needing to look at the screen.
Sure, some may say that the movie trivialises and simplifies what the ‘real world’ would be like for kids like Auggie, but this is a family movie after all, one meant to reach all levels of audiences, from the young to the young-at-heart. If this had been a serious movie, filled with hardships and pit falls and struggles, kids are not going to be part of the audience and will therefore miss whatever lessons it has to impart.
Apart from the more obvious ones, like ‘be kind’ and ‘get to know someone who seems different from you’, I feel Wonder teaches another lesson that floats under the radar – that parental behaviour plays a significant role in who their children are. Auggie’s parents remain positive and upbeat despite their challenges, and this is reflected in their children Olivia and Auggie. Jack’s mum encourages him to do the right thing. Miranda’s parents are divorced and are more interested in their drama than their daughter. While Julian’s parents believe their success is their privilege, and that makes them better than others.
I also liked that the movie told itself from the perspective of four different kids – Auggie, Via, Miranda and Jack, although Auggie’s voice remained a constant through it all. I think it showed us how the most seemingly ‘okay’ of people have their own struggles, even if they only just keep it to themselves.
Overall, Wonder is definitely worth watching. It’s lighthearted, heartwarming, cute and fun enough for when you feel like watching something that doesn’t require too much focus and attention, but will grab it anyway. It’s well made, and I thought the kids acted well too. Plus, it ends on a high note, which is something most of us want when it comes to entertainment!