Wonder (2017)

I know I said I liked Coco, but Wonder just BEAT ITS ASS. If Coco was a 4/5 then Wonder is a 4.8/5.

The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they’ve died. They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Only instead of being made of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you.

So earlier this week, I was very blessed to have gotten preview tickets to Wonder, which will be screened in theaters all over Singapore on 14th December (four more days!). Going into the cinema, I was so worried about how the film would be. You know the feeling when you’ve read a brilliantly written story, and you’re just so afraid it might land into the hands of the wrong people, and that they’d go and ruin it for you by creating some convenient flick just to reap in some profits? Yeah, that’s the one I felt after watching the cheesy trailer for Wonder.

This is a movie that definitely measures up to the insane standards set in place by R. J. Palacio’s book. I highly recommend you to bring your family and friends to the cinema, as well as a thousand packets of Kleenex because I literally cried from the start, up till the very end of Wonder. Also, this movie is not corny (okay, maybe just a wee little bit at the end. Hence the 4.8 out of 5) BUT, I stand firm on my belief that this movie is the best version of the story that it could be. I’m actually looking forward to re-watching this in the cinemas.

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Wonder centers around a young boy named Auggie, who looks different than most kids his age because he has a medical condition similar to that of the Treacher Collins Syndrome. The movie begins when Auggie’s parents decide that he should start attending school like everyone else, because he’s such a smart boy and his mum is unable to home school him anymore. THUS, our journey with Auggie begins, as he starts to attend school for the first time… and it’s freaking scary. Somehow, even though it’s just been 15 minutes into the movie, you’d find yourself feeling just as nervous as his parents when you see Auggie walk into the school courtyard for the very first time.

The beauty of this movie, and also the book, is that it presents itself as a story comprised of different chapters, each one from the perspective of a person whose life has been changed by Auggie. And so, we’re constantly engaged while the writers gently introduce to us the concept of empathy by doing this. It’s very subtle and never once does the movie try to be too in-your-face kind of preachy. Probably thanks to the brilliant director, Stephen Chbosky, who was the director of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

(On a side note, I have a thing for movie that has chapters in it. The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Raise the Red Lantern, are all films with chapters. So you know a movie’s gonna be good if it has chapters… but don’t quote me on that.)

The casting team by the way, did an amazing job. The choice of actors for all the key roles were perfect. Needless to say, Jacob Tremblay was crazy awesome as the star of this film and I salute his impeccable skills of being able to express so much emotion even though his face was completely hidden under make-up. He really made me cry like hell.

What really surprised me was the other main characters that I did not expect to have fallen in love with. Especially Jack Will, who is Auggie’s friend in school. He was played by Noah Jupe, who was so charming and he’s just a kid! (I have asked around and apparently I’m not the only female in my mid-twenties who is in love with this 13 year old boy. Thank God.) Honestly, I didn’t care that much for Jack Will when I read the book. I thought Julian was a more interesting and complex character. But Noah Jupe was electrifying in this film and now Jack Will is my favourite character. I totally ship Auggie and Jack, their best friend chemistry/vibes was so genuine and heart breaking and I can’t stop talking about it.

Dear everyone in Singapore, if you have to pick between Star Wars and Wonder on December 14th, I implore you, please fight your inclinations and pick Wonder instead. No, I haven’t seen Star Wars The Last Jedi, but I don’t even need to THINK to know what kind of experience it’s gonna be, based on the past 8 films of this franchise I’ve forced myself to watch. If you want to have a more meaningful movie experience, then Wonder is definitely going to be a better film for you and your loved ones.

Fingers crossed this film will be a hit here! We need more films and less flicks in our box office charts.

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