It’s not uncommon for children to feel isolated and alone when they’re starting a new school. It’s a set-up which has been repeatedly plundered by Hollywood as the premise for family and children’s films. There’s the protagonist, awkward and eager to make a good impression. The bully or bullies, always on the lookout for someone ‘different’ to pick on. Then there’s the kid who befriends the anxious newbie. Wonder, the latest offering from Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), uses this tried and tested formula in an imaginative way.
Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) is about to start middle school. Due to having to undergo a large number of operations, he’s been home-schooled by his mother (Julia Roberts) and has never really had any friends. They live with his older sister Via (Izabela Vidovic) and father (Owen Wilson), who indulges his son’s love of science. Auggie has a rare facial deformity which means he’s self-conscious about the way he looks and shy around other children.
Wonder stands above similar films due to Chbosky’s deft handling of a difficult subject, impressive acting from the young cast and a tendency to not dwell too long on any one event. It also helps that he doesn’t solely focus on Auggie. Via’s story, if anything, is more compelling. The sense of loss felt by an elder sibling, especially given the attention heaped on Auggie, can be isolating in its own way. It’s just a shame that the story between her and her best friend Miranda (Danielle Rose Russell) is never satisfactorily played out. Wonder is an entertaining and moving drama about finding your place in the world and accepting who you are.
Wonder is released on Digital Download, 4K UHD, Blu-Ray & DVD by Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK on 26th March.