Wonder: DVD Review
That Wonder's desire is solely aimed at feel good fare is easy to scoff at.
In the adaptation of RJ Palacio's book of the same name, Room's Jacob Tremblay plays Auggie, a young boy with a congenital condition that has necessitated 27 surgeries and still left him scarred.
Living life under an astronaut's helmet, Auggie, despite protestations, is joining his local school at the cautious urging of his parents (played with empathy, warmth and heart by Roberts and Wilson).
Trepidacious at what lies ahead, Auggie's journey begins.
Wonder is occasionally nothing more than a series of perfectly timed sentiment bombs, each calculated to detonate with maximum impact.
From time to time, it's easy to be cynical about their deployment and to dismiss the mawkishness that lurks below the surface.
Much like Mask, but distinctly lacking the same edge, Wonder, with its Star Wars predilection, has much to say about tolerance and acceptance. Auggie becomes a mirror for those to be what they want to be and to face their own fears.
Tremblay delivers a subtle turn that falls on cutesy sometimes but also reveals the frustrations of life within. Much more potential is shown to those who inhabit and orbit his world - but only some of it is explored in his sister, Via (Vidovic) whose life is pushed to the edges by Auggie's constant attention.
But, and unfortunately so, Wonder is not interested in bringing edge to the drama.
Consequently it can at times feel a little shallow and undeveloped as it seeks never to fully blame and push only positives in its bullying message. Everyone is a victim in some shape or other, and while the message's reason is that everyone has a story to tell, it does feel like a bit of a cop-out at times.
That message of tolerance may be important and a vital one to send to its audience in the times we live in but it doesn't always make for coherent drama. There is a feeling as the film chops and changes between varying narratives that not all of what happens feels as developed as could be, and certainly it's a crying shame given the insights that are given into different characters.
That said, all the themes of Wonder are admirable ones - themes of friendship, trust, living life, dealing with and to bullies, all very beneficial messages to get across. And while the mantra of Choosing Kind is also a good one and one occasionally overlooked, Wonder's power emerges from the smaller moments rather than the overly-milked mawkish ones.
It's easy to be cynical in the face of films like this, but Wonder's conviction and desire to hold its nerve on its course mean even the toughest of hearts may find tears emerging when least expected - and even when every emotional moment is signposted and mined for all it can be.