Back again with a film review, this time Hollywood. The movie – Wonder.
Verdict first— Must see!!!
The movie inspires, it gives hope, it brings a smile and it restores faith in this Wonderful world!
So, here’s a movie, that has Julia Roberts. That should be the big ‘pull’ for us audiences. At least it was for me. But no sooner does the movie start, than you almost lose the stars in your eyes for the beautifully ageing Julia. Instead, your heart is soon swept over by these warm and tender feelings for this 10+ years old boy Auggie, played by Jacob Tremblay.
The movie’s name is Wonder. And it has been adapted from a 2012 New York Times Bestseller book by the same name., written by RJ Palacio.
The book/the movie is about this young boy who was born with a plethora of problems. Scarred by correctional surgeries all over his body, the most visible being his facial deformities, the boy was growing up hating to look at himself in the mirror. That’s such a sad feeling, right?
The family has a rock solid mother (Julia), a very easy going and lovable father (Owen Wilson) and a sweet and mature protective elder sister. And to complete the American family, there’s also Daisy the dog.
Right from his birth, August, lovingly called as Auggie, was the centre of the Universe for the family. With his deformities and conditions, naturally the parents were over attentive and sensitive towards him.
With the fear of their son being ostracised or repulsive to other children at school, Auggie’s mother had been home schooling him. Till he reached the middle school age (5th grade). That’s when the mom takes the toughest decision of her life, to bring her vulnerable son out into the big, bad, but real world.
So far, the astronaut’s helmet that Auggie liked to hide his face under had served as a little cocoon that protected him from the cruel stares of ‘normal’ people. It was time to shed the helmet.
And so, Auggie takes his first step into the real world, in a school with ‘normal’ children. In the scene there, with the whole family come to see off Auggie at school, you could sense that they were all stepping out into the real world. Apprehensive, worried, hopeful. The mother saying a silent prayer for acceptance of her little boy was the sum of all their fears.
And here on we would think would be the predictable premise of a tearjerker, tugging at our heart strings for sympathy. But, what a wonder! The director so beautifully navigated us through a range of human emotions and natural behavior by innocent children who are not used to being in the company of a disfigured friend.
The movie shows us a real world, where acceptance of the ‘out of regular’ has its share of problems. But where the ‘regular’ is also not spared. While at the centre, there’s Auggie battling his unpopularity owing to his genetically deformed visage, not leading a perfect life is his elder sister, Via. Via, who had no option but to grow up earlier than her age, because her parents were very busy supporting Auggie, has her own set of typical teenage problems. She feels neglected and lonely, and her best friend suddenly ignoring her does not help matters much. And well, her beautiful best friend too has some terrible family issues that makes her life also far from perfect.
The best gift of the movie is the rare sneak peek it gives into the minds of ‘regular’ children, who are not used to taking moral decisions of right and wrong at that tender age. Through the character of Jack, a cute little boy who becomes Auggie’s friend because ‘it’s the right thing to do’ and then goes on to say something very nasty to be a populist, we see the imperfect world of children, and how they balance the expectations set by peer pressure on one hand and adults (viz., the School Principal and their parents) on the other.
If kids and adults pay attention to the movie, they will know and learn…It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend!
And it is finally the children’s sense of ugly and beautiful that that makes the movie so uplifting to see. We see a world that’s not so bad after all. Sharing Jack’s secret “It is very simple. It is only with one’s heart that one can clearly see. What is essential is invisible to the eye”.
And like Auggie puts it so simply his deformity does not qualify him to be a hero. Everyone is a hero. And everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lifetime.
Did I mention Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson too? Well, I really didn’t need to. Go see the movie. It’s not everyday that such simple, sweet movies come along.