‘Wonder’ Blu-Ray Review: Heartwarming Tale Of A Marvelous, Disfigured Child
Wonder is the type of drama movie that will alternate between breaking your heart and melting it with joy during a two-hour span.
Meet August “Auggie” Pullman: (Jacob Tremblay from Room) a fifth-grade boy beset by a rare facial deformity referred to as “mandibulofacial dysostosis.”
Auggie has been home-schooled by his mother Izzy (Julia Roberts) for years, but she and his father Nate (Owen Wilson) one day decide to finally put him in a private school upon Auggie’s request. His mother Izzy is nervous about this decision but ultimately succumbs and lets him go.
At school, the other children initially keep their distance from Auggie — sometimes literally — and others even flat-out bully him. However, the kind-hearted and smart youngster eventually gains friends and becomes a marvel nearly the entire school learns to cherish, and not just his parents and older sister Via.
Tremblay is brilliant in this adaptation of R.J. Palacio’s 2012 novel of the same name that is directed and co-written by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower). He shifts from pure joy and curiosity to fear and misery with such ease. The makeup used to show Auggie’s deformity is well-crafted, although the book reportedly implies the protagonist’s face is much more hideous than his face as depicted in the film.
The supporting child actors in the film (Noah Jupe, Bryce Gheisar, Millie Davis) are also stellar, playing as convincing friends or bullies as one may imagine fifth-graders could be. Mandy Patinkin (Homeland) and Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) round out the charismatic cast.
The fact that the story is told in several “chapters” — each from a different character’s perspective, and not just Auggie’s viewpoint — also help make it a very captivating film.
Another trait that makes Wonder so refreshing is the lack of a major, life-altering tragedy that strikes Auggie or his family members. Sure, the Pullmans undergo some hardships, but none of them seem to serve as a glib way to accentuate how much the young protagonist is mistreated by his peers in an environment that is supposed to be safe.
Special features common to the Blu-Ray and DVD include a commentary, a music video, and a behind-the-scenes featurette of the Wonder soundtrack.
Blu-Ray exclusives include a featurette on “Family Matters,” “A Technical Wonder,” “A Note of Kindness,” “A Child’s Sense of Wonder” and “What a Wonderful World.”
Ultimately, Wonder reveals how, as Auggie’s sister Via says more than once: “You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.”