McCann At The Movies: A Heartfelt Drama That Lives Up To Its Title

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Our movie guy, John McCann, says ‘Wonder’ will have you reaching for the tissues on more than one occasion…

In a year that has brought us a plentiful supply of superheroes, some chilling horror movies, wonderful animation features, many terrific biopics and a lot more, one particular genre that has been lacking has been the sentimental and heartfelt drama.

A movie that can evoke tears of sadness and joy in equal measure whilst ultimately warming the hearts of the captivated movie audience. Thankfully, this particular hole has now been filled by the aptly named ‘Wonder’.

Based on R.J. Palacio’s 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.

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Under lesser capable talents than director and co-writer Stephen Chbosky this unashamedly old fashioned and sentimental tale could have come across as a bit twee and over patronising and whereas it does have its moments of over sweetening, it is by and large a warm and charming yet highly entertaining piece of film that contains a pretty strong life message.

Chbosky’s first feat in this production was assembling a strong and suitable cast.

Owen Wilson dials down the goofiness just enough to endear himself to the audience as Auggie’s father, whereas Julia Roberts shows a strong return to form in her role as his mother.

Mandy Pantinkin also lends a reliable hand to proceedings as principal Tushman. It is the younger members of the cast however that steal the show with Izabela Vidovic showing maturity way beyond her years in her wonderful performance as Via whereas Jacob Tremblay proves emphatically that his immense performance in Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘Room’ was not a one off.

Smart writing along with those strong performances prevent this film getting too schmaltzy and what transpires is a powerful and sensitive drama that will have it’s audience reaching for the tissues on more than one occasion.

However, it stands alone in its field as a terrific heartwarming tale that does justice to its ever popular and exquisite source material. Recommended!


For more of John McCann’s movie reviews, check out his Facebook page here and website here

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