On Tuesday 26th December 2017, I was able to watch the very anticipated 'Wonder', at Odeon cinema in Hatfield, which is a film directed by Stephen Chbosky based on the famous novel, written by R. J. Palacio, of the same name.
The film was quite inspiring and uplifting as it reveals the story of a young boy, August Pullman, played by Jacob Tremblay, with a facial deformity who enters the fifth grade in a normal elementary school. He faces hardships and obstacles through his time with other kids, but eventually overcomes them with the encouragement of some classmates who decide to befriend him.
The story begins with Auggie's parents, Isabel and Nate Pullman, played by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, breaking the news to him that he'll be going to a normal elementary school for the first time, but of course he was reluctant in going to begin with, however he finally agrees as his family talks him into it. We then meet three of his classmates that we meet again later on: Jack Will, played by Noah Jupe, Julian Albans, played by Bryce Gheisar, and Charlotte Cody played by Elle McKinnon. We can tell a little from their behaviour how they are and what their personality is like, just from the scene of showing Auggie around the school.
We see a sequence of Auggie's first day in school and collect information of how he is treated by others around him. Through the film, we see Jack's attempts to befriend him and the rising friendship between him and Auggie, but unfortunately the continuous attempts, from Julian, to bully him. After overhearing Jack talking behind Auggie's back, Auggie begins to distance himself from him and starts a friendship with another one of his classmates, Summer Dawson played by Millie Davis.
Meanwhile, we also see the struggles of his sister Olivia "Via" Pullman, played by Izabella Vidovic, and her fading friendship with her best friend Miranda Navas, played by Danielle Rose Russell. As they drift apart she starts to develop a friendship with Justin played by Nadji Jeter, a friendly guy in her drama club, which soon generates into a romantic relationship.
What I Liked about the film:
During the screening, I made some comments on my phone to note down the techniques that were used to produce the film. This included the camera shots/angles, sounds, editing, mise-en-scene, etc. I was very impressed with the way that the Chbosky disclosed the story of the other characters in the film, as well as the protagonist, Auggie. He made sure to impart each perspective in a particular order, which would make the audience feel sympathetic towards the characters, after seeing one thing then seeing another. Techniques such as voice overs made the backstories more effective as we could be informed about the character's feelings as well as their actions. Also, using titles to inform the audience of whose point of view we are in, helped in knowing who we're listening to. The music was relevant as it was gentle and calming to suit the serious scenes, it didn't distract the audience and also added a more dramatic effect to the sequences that were shown.
With more active scenes such as the small fight scene between Jack and Julian, Chbosky filmed it with a unstable camera shot, hand-held, and chose to make that moment into slow motion with the sound being blurred and blocked allowing it to become more substantial. This really interested me because I found the technique very effective and it made me feel sympathetic for the ones who got involved in the conflict.
The space helmet that Auggie wears, is quite significant in the film and is used for Auggie to cover his face if he feels insecure. The helmet could suggest isolation as he is clearly different from others and he feels the need to cover up and keep away from others so that they don't feel uncomfortable around him. However, it could also imply the freedom that he has to do as he wants, even if he has a deformity. The fact that he loses his helmet at some point in the film, shows this as he was unable to hide away from everyone and take action for himself which benefitted him more as he was more easier to read.
I believe that 'Wonder' is suitable for anyone and can be watched by many. It's great for family and teens alike as it can relate to a wide variety of people. The film allows you to see the perspective of those who may be struggle in their lives and the solutions to the problems that they have. It challenges common topics of bullying, friendship, work like and family using people at different stages in life and shows us of the possibilities that we can make in our own lives.