Mormon Moviegoers is a collective of LDS film reviewers helping you to make informed decisions about Hollywood films. It was founded by family counselor Jonathan Decker (of Ask a Mormon Therapist).
WHAT IS WONDER ABOUT?
August Pullman, a boy born with a genetic disorder that causes severe facial deformity, enters the fifth grade at a public school for the first time.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A-)
Jacob Tremblay (Room) leads this cast as August (Auggie) Pullman, and he delivers a superb performance. Almost unrecognizable because his face is covered in prosthesis, he still manages to create a character that is likeable, three dimensional, and charismatic.
Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson also provide great performances as Auggie’s parents, playing off of each other’s quick wit to lighten the movie when it needs it most without creating superficial characterization. Their storylines provide a needed adult viewpoint and will prove especially interesting for the parents in the audience.
A heartwarming story with some deep (and important) lessons to teach, Wonder finds itself navigating the tricky waters of being a book that became a movie without losing any of the heart or dimension of its source material. The few criticisms I have are these: the movie should trust the audience more, as it strays into being too heavy handed with its lessons at a few points, and the run time could be cut down 10-15 minutes. All in all, though, this movie is a well-rounded experience that will teach (or remind) you about some life lessons that the past few years may have caused you to forget.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR FAMILY?
Wonder is rated PG. The principles taught are uplifting and important for anyone of any age to learn, and I feel comfortable recommending bringing your whole family (and maybe some tissues) to this movie. The rating is for some thematic elements that include bullying and some language (the G-word is used). There are two fight scenes in this movie, taking places between tweens, but without any blood or gore shown, and (I feel it important to note) without the movie condoning that behavior in any way.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
While differences can be frightening to those who do not understand, we must seek to gain understanding instead of bullying or persecuting those who are different. (“The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Dieter F. Utchdorf, “Endure It Well,” Neal A. Maxwell)
“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose being kind.” --Dr Wayne W. Dye (see also 1 Corinthians 13:4, John 13:34, Luke 6:35)
For movie night recommendations and Gospel discussion guides, order 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, available in paperback and Kindle.