Sunday, February 11, 2018

Video review: "Wonder"

“Wonder” is a tender-hearted flick that makes no bones about being a tearjerker. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson star as the parents of Auggie, a 10-year-old boy played by Jacob Tremblay who was born with severe facial defects.

He’s been more or less hiding out his whole life, being home-schooled by his mom or wearing an astronaut’s helmet in public to ward off stares and comments. But now he’s attending school for the first time, and this is the story of his entering a broader, scarier world.

The screenplay by Steve Conrad, Jack Thorne and Stephen Chbosky, who also directed, is a straightforward string of encounters. We know the teasing and taunting is going to come, but it’s no less painful when it does. Auggie soon finds a friend in a scholarship student (Noah Jupe), but the inevitable setback is just around the corner. Mandy Patinkin plays the wise and helpful school headmaster.

The movie, based on the best-selling novel by R.J. Palacio, also follows around Auggie’s older sister, Via (Izabela Vidovic), for a bit, and we get to see the family dynamic from her perspective. She loves her little brother, but it’s hard to be teenager when your sibling soaks up all of the grownups’ attention.

It may not be the most original movie to come down the pike, but “Wonder” is decorated with nice, crisp performances and an authentic human story that’s hard to resist. Three hankies, at least.

Bonus features are quite good. The DVD edition has a feature-length commentary track by Chbosky and Palacio, music video for “Brand New Eyes” and a featurette on the soundtrack.

Upgrade to the Blu-ray version, and you add two more featurettes, “A Child’s Sense of Wonder” and “What a Wonderful World,” plus a five-part making of documentary titled, “Summer of Fun.”



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