Summary: Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.
So I read the book for class, so I was able to think about that a lot while watching the movie. There are some differences but I think overall this movie was a solid adaptation of the book. I liked the book but not as much as other people have, it was just good. I actually liked the movie more. But anyways… I tried not to let the book get in the way too much it’s hard when the book is so fresh. ONWARDS!
Cast and Characters.
Jacob Tremblay as Auggie Pullman. Auggie was born with Treacher Collins syndrome (look it up). He is a 10-year-old boy and the movie begins with him getting ready to go to public school, the 5th grade. He’s never been to school before and he’s not very happy about it, but as time goes on, and he begins to make friends, he loves school (even though he’s still mad his mom sometimes for making him go) and I like Auggie for the most part. I think Jacob Tremblay was a great choice for this character as he has this way of being so cute, likable and also a bit annoying lol. I mean, Auggie is a kid but he’s also a bit spoiled considering he’s been the center of attention all of his life. I liked the fact that Auggie had this thing where he could tell a lot about a person by looking at their shoes… shows that he’s human and a kid. He may have dealt with a lot, but he’s still a kid. He’s whiny, he’s spoiled but he’s loyal, and funny, and he loves Star Wars (just like Jacob) and it’s clear he loves his family, including his dog Daisy. Auggie is a great kid, and he is a KID and I think sometimes people forget that about him when reading the book or watching the movie, he’s still a kid. He’s not going to perfect and I think this movie did a good job at that, showing that he does have a little smart mouth, that he too can judge people. He felt like a kid. Jacob Tremblay is great and I can’t wait to see more from as he gets older.
Julia Roberts as Isabel Pullman. She is Auggie’s mother. Isabel is a superwoman, she has home-schooled Auggie and has dealt with the stress and pain of him having many surgeries. She has her faults and I think she recognizes them mostly when it comes to her daughter but for the most part, she’s a good mom. She wants Auggie to fit in at school, she wants him to have friends and be comfortable but it’s easy to tell that she has a hard time with it, even though it was her idea. I thought Julia Roberts was great, she had great chemistry with Jacob Tremblay, great with Owen Wilson and Izabela Vidovic. She felt like a mom, a wife, and the strong backbone of this family. She has some great funny lines and moments and she, of course, has great delivery.
Owen Wilson as Nate Pullman. Auggie’s father and a bit of a comedian. Nate is the dad who is cool, but it’s not “in your face cool”, he just is and I think Owen Wilson has a good balance of being a bit of a dork and being cool that it works out well for him. I loved the scene at the end with him and Auggie, it was emotional and sweet.
Izabela Vidovic as Olivia “Via” Pullman. Auggie’s sister and probably one of my favorite characters because I can relate in ways. She is in high school and it’s her first day as well but her parents are more worried about Auggie, she feels overshadowed due to her brother’s difference. She doesn’t love him any less, she doesn’t hate him but she is a teenager and it does bother her to the point where she lies to the cute boy about being an only child. She just wants the focus for once. I saw Izabela Vidocic play a young Kara Danvers in Supergirl and I thought she was good there, she’s really good here too. Very sympathetic and emotional.
Daveed Diggs as Mr. Browne. It’s so great to see him in a movie! He plays Auggie’s English and homeroom teacher. He is a quirky guy but he’s kind, and I love how he interacted with the kids, especially Auggie. There’s a great moment during a school picture and I love what he did. I thought Daveed did very well, he didn’t overdo it. He didn’t feel like a Broadway actor trying to be a movie actor (they can overdo it sometimes). He works in the movie and plus, he’s beautiful lol.
Noah Jupe as Jack Will. I loved this kid. I liked him in the book too, but he first meets Auggie when he and two other students are charged with showing Auggie around the school before the term starts. He starts off really quiet and observant, just watching Auggie and he even stands up for him a few times in the beginning. Jack is the kid who struggles with what he should do, he doesn’t want to be treated badly for being nice to Auggie but at the same time, he doesn’t want to be mean to Auggie either. He does end up becoming Auggie’s best friend and their friendship is a strong part. I just discovered that Noah Jupe is British and I wouldn’t have known that from his role in the movie, he does an American accent so well. I was a little worried about him at first because he would overdo some stuff, but as the movie went on, he just felt more natural in his role.
Millie Davis as Summer. Summer is sweet, she watches Auggie for a while and it’s easy to tell that she struggles with what she should do but when she decides to be his friend, they become fast friends. She’s also loyal to him. It’s sweet. Millie Davis was good, but I did think she was a bit too over the top sometimes but otherwise, she was good.
Bryce Gheisar as Julian. This kid… I didn’t like him in the book and I didn’t like him here either. He was the main bully. I don’t think he was as bad as he was in the book, at least that I remember, but after meeting his parents, it was easy to see where he gets it from. Bryce Gheisar did a good job but he manages to have these weepy eyes that make you feel a bit bad for him… sometimes.
Auggie and Jack’s Friendship. I thought this was a strong part of the book, and it’s a strong part of the movie. In the beginning, Jack is with Julian and Charlotte to show Auggie around, he is the nicer of the two boys and he immediately, while at school, goes to sit with him at lunch. Of course, something does happen that breaks them apart, but it’s easy to tell that Jack really does like Auggie and wants to be his friend. Their loyalty to each other is quite astounding, yes they have a snag in there, but they were both so affected by it that you know it’s true friendship.
The Pullman Family. The family dynamic is also a big one. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson have never done a movie together before, but they felt like a married couple and I thought they had good chemistry with each other. I also loved the relationship between Via and Auggie, her section is probably one of my favorite sections of the book and movie and it’s clear she loves her little brother, she holds no ill will towards him, but she does feel overshadowed, like a child with a “sick” sibling would. The four of them together also worked really well. They felt like a family.
The Directing. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that Stephen Chbosky (Perks of being a Wallflower) directed and helped write the script for this movie. I think he did such a great job adapting Perks (he wrote the book) into a movie (he directed the movie) that it makes sense that he was as close to the book with this movie as possible. I loved a lot of the transitions in the movie, and I loved how it looked or how certain things were shot. I didn’t care for the breaking up of the parts, but I loved the little additions of the astronaut as what Auggie’s wants and sees himself as.
The Music. Marcelo Zarvos composes the music for the movie and I liked it quite a bit. It has a whimsical feeling to it.
The Story. I think the story has a lot of different layers going on. It has Auggie’s story of feeling accepted and learning how to accept his difference, his parents in how they deal with their children, Auggie’s sister Via having to find her own way, and the other kids in deciding to be kind. At its core, it’s a story about acceptance for everyone involved. It’s a sweet story. It also handles bullying, something that has always plagued schools, even adults, and this movie really hits on that. It’s also a story about family.
Heartwarming. This is a sweet movie. The Pullman family feel like a real family, with everyone having their own worries, their own struggles, especially Via. Also, watching the kids become friends, and seeing Auggie’s struggles and emotional roller coasters, and even learning a bit into other people’s lives, it’s one of those movies that makes you feel good overall.
Long. Boy, this movie feels soooo long. It’s just under two hours and it feels like it just kept going on. I can’t imagine really young kids really sitting through this. At some point, it felt like the movie should have ended (I felt the same way about the book) and it just kept going and I was like “oh yeah, I forgot they had some more drama to go”. I really think the structure of the storytelling doesn’t do it a lot of favors and without doing it just like the book, might have helped it.
Summer’s Character. I do think it’s sad to note that Summer’s character was greatly underused in the movie compared to the book. I’m all for Auggie and Jack’s friendship but Summer was technically the first friend, they did a lot together. The movie brushes over her. We don’t meet her family, she doesn’t do the science project with Auggie, she hardly says much as the movie goes on after their first meeting and the first couple of times she talks to Jack. It was kind of odd. I liked her in the book, she was one of my favorite characters, so it was sad and disappointing that her character was so minimized in the movie.
The Kid Actors. So I don’t want to condemn all of the kids in the movie, but lord, mostly at the beginning of the movie, they weren’t very good. I think most notably Bryce Gheisar (Julian), it was just so cringy. Even Elle McKinnon (Charlotte) was a bit too much at times. I mean, they’re kids so I want to give them a past but it’s so obvious. There is one particular part where Summer (Millie Davis) is talking to Auggie and he’s accusing her and she gets all emotional about it, but it was really bad acting lol. While I love Jacob Tremblay, he even suffers from a bit of overacting. Yes, they’re kids but I’ve seen that kid do something AMAZING in Room so, it was just odd to me.
The Emotion/The Story. So I didn’t want to necessarily call this movie “emotionally manipulative” like I have seen from critics of the book and by extension the book, but there is something about this movie (and the book) that I don’t really like. While kids are bullies and do terrible things, it just felt over dramatic to the point of ridiculousness, especially the scene in the forest towards the end. It seems to make me want to cry, it’s trying to make me cry at parts and it feels like it’s trying way too hard to make me cry. The scene at the end did make me tear up but that felt organic where at other times, it felt insincere.
Set up like a book. So in the book, there are parts in which certain characters get to have a point of view and we learn more about them. In the movie, they do the same thing. There are parts where character’s names come up on-screen “Auggie”, “Via”, “Jack Will”, “Miranda” and we get to see a bit more into their lives. While in the book that works, I don’t think that really works in the movie. I don’t mind when timelines aren’t linear and you have to go back to see what happened to someone before but it just flowed weirdly in the movie. They were obviously trying to follow the book and it is a unique thing but it just makes the movie feel even longer. I also understand why Miranda’s part was involved, just like in the book, but I think it’s unnecessary from a story standpoint. They cut out Justin’s point of view, they should have cut Miranda’s as well.
Overall, I liked Wonder for the most part. It’s a nice family movie and it has it’s messages and important plot points to pull from it. I thought the acting was great, the music was beautiful, and whimsical, especially during the scenes with Auggie daydreaming. I loved how the film looked and it’s a very strong adaptation of the book, I was able to think “oh yeah that’s straight from the book”. I thought the friendship between Auggie and Jack Will was a very strong element, both young boys did a great job portraying the growth of the friendship. The Pullman family was also a great relationship portrayed on screen. However, I do have some gripes with the film. I do think the kid acting from supporting characters comes off a bit over the top, or hokey and I want to give them a pass because they’re kids, but it’s pretty annoying so I can’t really. Half a pass. I think the movie tries too hard to be like the book that while it’s a good adaptation, it makes the movie feel too long, and drawn out with some of the pacings. It also tries to take the structure of the book and I don’t think it works as well as it does with a book. I also think the movie tries a too hard to get tears from viewers, I’m a crier in general but I didn’t feel any of the emotion it was trying to make me feel until maybe one or two parts at the end. I think Wonder from book to movie is solid, and I think kids who loved the book will love the fact that it’s a movie. If you didn’t like the book, I doubt you would like the movie much but again, the acting is great. I liked the movie more than the book because of the acting from the main cast.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Wonder? Have you read the book? Do you think it’s a good movie adaptation?
Also, answer my question, what is your favorite movie that was adapted from a book?
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