Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman. Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade.
As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to find their compassion and acceptance, Auggie's extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can't blend in when you were born to stand out.
This is one of those films that was everywhere! Not just the usual trailers online, YouTube, Facebook etc. but in a good portion of my Facebook groups as excited parents of children with special needs shared it again and again, both curious and excited. This story follows a young boy who was born with what is commonly known as Treacher Collins Syndrome as his parents more him from being homeschooled to a mainstream private school. The film follows the highs and lows of this transition and the effect it has on everyone involved.
The young boy who portrayed Auggie did a good job, his does well showing us the fears and insecurities that any child like this would and does face. I will note, that despite us being told he's had multiple surgeries and that his was a rare case, he appears to have been very lucky to not have hearing or vision loss and other symptoms that accompany this syndrome. That being said, it is important to bring stories like this into mainstream media, our kids need a voice and to be seen as human as everyone else. Auggie grows throughout the movie, learning more not just about himself but how other people crumble to peer pressure and their own misconceptions.
What I really liked is that it doesn't just focus on Auggie, he has an older sibling and too often do the siblings get moved aside, not from a lack of love or care, but because everything that comes as a package of having a child with special needs, takes up so much more of a parents time and energy. Via, his sister, has just moved to a new school and siezes upon the chance to be known as Via, only child and not Auggies sister. We get to see how it affects her, having the chances for time with her parents and then loosing it because Auggie takes priority. Via has her own battles in this film, and they're handled in a way that feels authentic and is also important for showing the world not to forget the siblings.
The casting is all spot on, the kids portray well the desire to fit in, lying to seem cool and like they don't care, the pressure to act stronger and braver than they are and how to be true to what they want rather than others. While this film was enjoyable, I far preferred Via's side of the story, than Auggie's. I also wish that they had found a child born with the syndrome to act as Auggie, this would have brought an even bigger chance for education outside of the film.
A good film, not perfect, but it is a start.
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"A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)