Don’t let the the plotline fool you, as Wonder is not an overly sappy family drama that aims for the lowest common denominator. For one, the picture, which is based on R.J. Palacio’s 2012 novel, is directed by The Perks of Being a Wallflower filmmaker Stephen Chbosky. As with Perks, Chbosky approaches the material with insight, preferring to let this refreshingly intricate story (and not cloying emotion) lead the way.
The storyline centers on Auggie (Room’s Jacob Tremblay), a boy with a facial deformity who enters fifth grade. Home schooled and sheltered by his parents (Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson) and older sister Via (Izabela Vidovic), Auggie has a hard time fitting in thanks to a bullying classmate (Bryce Gheisar) and his friends. Slowly but surely, Auggie makes a couple of friends and gradually finds that school actually has its merits.
The tale may be predictable, but Chbosky frames his narrative by giving various characters their own moment in the film to shine. For example, Via has her very own subplot which deals with her own feelings of neglect (Vidovic, who does a stirring monologue in the picture, is a revelation). Noah Jupe, who plays Auggie’s best friend Jack, is also given his own section of the story which also bolsters the narrative. Roberts and Wilson, though they are the film’s A-list stars, are just a small part of the overall picture, as Tremblay’s excellent performance is ultimately the star of the picture.
Special features on the Blu-ray include a five-part documentary, three featurettes (a look at the making of the soundtrack, “What a Wonderful World”, “A Child’s Sense of Wonder”), audio commentary from Chbosky and Palacio, and a music video (“Brand New Eyes”). The DVD version comes with the commentary, music video, and the soundtrack featurette.
Click on the media bar below to hear Julia Roberts talk about one of the themes behind Wonder:
Wonder is now out on Blu-Ray and DVD.