'Wonder' (2017) Review: Hollywood finally remembers the charm called life

By Anirban Lahiri

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews 

Badly panned by critics and shunned by the average moviegoers at least in India, Wonder is a close-to-heart film not to be avoided. Hollywood would not tell tales of everyday life – small dreams, conflicts, ups and downs, mundane affairs even few years ago. Titanic was a Bollywood film in Hollywood grandeur. It talked about the old forgotten love, and union in death, but with an epic setting (and epic disaster) in the background.

I loved Wonder. I missed the Press Show because of sickness. However, I was adamant in catching this film in another city – the city of my ongoing convalescence. This film is about convalescence too – that of the society, of people’s perception, of identity and love.

What if a short-sized boy with deformed face emerges quick-witted, sensitive and passionate about science and astronomy? What if he is continuously bullied in school, because of face and refusal in remaining meek and silent? How does he deal with all these in the tender, early teenage? How does his parents, especially his mother, handles all these? Specially when she has taught him everything he knows? How does his excellently mature late teenage sister copes with her life as well as his? How do they all fit and revolt against the conventions of perceptions in society?
That is Wonder. Coming from a writer-cum-screenwriter, the film deals with values. We may remember, while watching the film, that we agreed to live together in society because that would guarantee our survival. The silent pact of making a family, where the siblings support one another, is more cultural than biological, the film reminds us. Set in a warm glow of late-autumn sunshine, Wonder shows what running against odds means.

Jacob Tremblay is brilliant in the role of Auggie, the deformed-face teenager. Izabela Vidovic, in the character of Via, Auggie’s elder sister, is perfect. Their mother, Isabel, demanded Julia Roberts for the right reasons. We love to watch such non-excessive acting on the big screen.

The Directorial-Editorial decision of ending each sequence with a brief black screen tells me how life is punctuated by brief pauses. We have minimum three or four phases – each of us – sometimes seven or eight. Sometimes, these phases go completely counter to one another, making us look like crazy, or multi-dimensional.

But, life is indeed about that! Life is wonder. The biggest wonder the universe could possible offer us.

Don Burgess’ Cinematography offered a similar punctuation by painting the frame with rich orange hues, punctuated at the times of doubt and depression by blue light and props.

There are a lot to say about Wonder; and there is none. There are certain things in life where words defer meaning. We hear more by physical engagement, through silence, there.

Please watch this film if you can still find it at a theatre nearby, if you want to see, for a change, how love can bring magic to the lives of mundane people.

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!

Rating: 7/10

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