Film – Wonder (2017. Seen on-board)

Film – Wonder (2017. Seen on-board)

Despite Julia Roberts (who is in that ’50/50 great films/really bad’ films nowadays) the trailer hadn’t enticed me enough to go and see this in the cinema.

However, I was on a 12 hour return flight from Seoul and had already established that I had seen every new film on the Asiana entertainment system. Possibly because it wasn’t that huge a selection that you’re still going through all the choices well after your first meal has been served. Probably because it’s been a good year and I’ve seen almost everything I’ve wanted to see at the cinema.

So this turned out to be better than expected although not worth a cinema trip. I guessed it was based on a true story and indeed there is a Wonder book based on an incident but that was a girl. The film is about a fictional boy,  August ‘Auggie’ Pullman.

Wonder starts with Auggie telling us how many operations he’s had thus far, as a kid born with deformative disease. He is dreading going to school for the first time, having been home-schooled by his mum. His only dream is of being an astronaut and to this end, it turns out he is already more knowledgeable than the kids in his science class. This is the very subject that his soon-to-be bullying but perhaps then well meaning school-mates told him to ignore as ‘science is really hard’.

‘Perhaps my mum could home-school you’ he retorts after easily being the only one that can answer the teacher’s questions. This shows us his sense of humour which will go on to serve him well.

We are introduced to the other characters and their issues, most notably Auggie’s doting older sister Olivia ‘Via’ Pullman and her best friend, Miranda. Via is completely sidelined as Auggie gets most of the parental attention but she feels too guilty to complain. This is not helped by Miranda dropping her after being away at Summer camp for quite a ridiculous reason, even by children’s standards.

Despite the bullying, eventually Auggie makes friends who like him because he’s fun to be around, rather than they just feel sorry for him sitting on his own at lunch every day. This is, of course, the story we want to hear.

The astronaut helmet (a present from Miranda) he insists he wears early on obviously draws more attention to him but Auggie clearly feels more confident in it. With it, he escapes to another world, one that he hopes to actually go to one day.

It probably works as a kids book more than a film but it’s inoffensive. Wonder tugs at the heartstrings exactly as it’s designed to do.

6½/10

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