By: Kourtney Hughes
Stephen Chbosky’s Wonder expresses an inspiring and heartwarming story of August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay). Being born with a facial deformity, Auggie is not just an ordinary kid. Wonder is a well-crafted, well-intentioned movie, though it displays important emotional, medical, and psychological realities. It inspires others to move outside of a comfort zone, no matter what circumstances may hold them back.
The movie unfolds in a townhouse in present-day Upper Manhattan in New York City. Up until now, Auggie’s facial differences have prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Auggie enrolls at a local middle school, Beecher Prep. While battling hardships from the fifth-grade class, he begins to shine in the classroom. Auggie loves science, Star Wars, and video games. Seems like a normal kid, right? What Auggie doesn’t know is that he leaves a special mark on many people.
As the film goes on to tell Auggie’s story, his family and friends’ points of view are told as well. His older sister Via (Izabela Vidovic) feels as if all the attention is focused on Auggie. While she loves her brother, she longs for some love as well. Auggie’s parents, Isabel and Nate (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) support and help Auggie as he faces his first year of school. Auggie’s new friend Jack Will (Noah Jupe) enjoys being around him but does not know how to stand up for him in school.
While Auggie has his family and Jack Will to lean on, he is faced with day-to-day bullies. Kids call him names (“Darth Hideous,” “Gollum”) and bully him. Auggie is easily hurt but tries to remain strong. The main antagonist of the movie is Julian (Bryce Gleisar). Julian enjoys teasing Auggie and often says hurtful comments about his facial differences. While seeming tough on the outside, we learn that Julian faces his own difficult family issues.
As the film progresses, Auggie’s character warms the hearts of others. As Auggie navigates his first year of school, he and all the people around him, learn to think more of others and find happiness within themselves. Auggie always dreamed of blending in, but soon realized he was born to stand out.