Wonder is a movie based on a novel based on a true series, and from the outside it looks like a pretty standard feel-good story about how what's on the inside is all that matters because friends are the most important treasure of all, or something cliched like that. Actually watching the movie this past Friday though, I saw something that was surprisingly honest.
I say honest because too many times movies like this feel like they lack a certain grounding; everything works out all the time and the whole thing feels like a sugary sweet exercise in fantasy more than a story with genuine emotional highs and lows.
Wonder isn't like that. It certainly has its "d'aaaw" bait moments, but it also features some seriously distressing acts of bullying and heartbreak, and it does a good job taking a nuanced look at its characters from different perspectives to allow for if not a complete condoning of their behaviors then at least a sympathetic understanding of them.
This is helped along by skilled actors including movie veterans like Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson plus some relative newcomers such as Jacob Tremblay as the main character and Izabela Vidovic as his perpetually overshadowed sister. It's also assisted by a balanced script with enough humor to keep things from becoming miserable and some clever framing tricks that occasionally showcase the imaginations of the characters the film follows rather than the exact reality that they are seeing. It all comes together well and for a weekend at the movies that leaves you feeling satisfied, it's hard to go wrong with a bit of Wonder.