Wonder tells the story of Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a boy born with severe facial deformities who is about to enter the daunting world of middle school. Having thus far been home-schooled by his mother Isabel (Julia Roberts), this will be Auggie's first extended exposure to other children.
When school starts, we see that most of the kids have no intention of interacting with Auggie because, as rumour has it, even touching him will give them "the Plague". As difficult as the first few days are, Auggie begins to acclimate to life in middle school, slowly but surely starting to win friends with loyalty, smarts and a good dose of the sense of humour he gets from his father Nate (Owen Wilson).
A third of the way into the movie a shift in narrative occurs, as the view-point switches to Auggie's older sister, Via who has many of her own problems to deal with.
We hear from Via that in their world, Auggie is the Sun and everyone else revolves around him. This isn't the fault of Auggie or his parents though. It's understandable. But the movie reminds us that there are other stories within the story, other ways people may be impacted that aren't as obvious or on the surface. So, we began to see the story through their eyes, and the movie takes on a much deeper, richer feel. It gives us more stories to connect with and characters with whom to identify.
Sacrifice is a theme that works its way throughout the film. Auggie's mum sacrifices a career to be with and care for her son through many surgeries and then to provide him with a solid educational foundation for when he does eventually start school with other children. Via sacrifices a relationship with her parents so that they can provide for Auggie every step of the way.
We also see the themes of kindness and acceptance, both from the people surrounding Auggie and, at times, from Auggie himself.
Auggie is able to withstand the perils of being out in public because he is strong like his mother, funny like his father, kind and thoughtful like his sister.
This movie is not one of the best films ever made, but it is certainly one of the loveliest and most family-friendly movies produced in a while.
Wonder, based on a New York Times bestselling book by the same name, is rated PG for "thematic elements including bullying, and some mild language."
Released in theatres late last year, Wonder is available on DVD and download.•