“When given the choice between being right or being kind choose kind.” (Wonder, RJ Palacio)
In front of me lay an empty box of tissues and a half eaten bar of Galaxy chocolate. My nose was sore and itchy from excessive blowing, I wiped away a fresh stream of warm, salty tears that had emerged from my puffy eyes. I wasn’t feeling sad, low or deflated, I was in actual fact happy and content. It was the best I had felt in a long time.
You see, we had just finished watching the movie; Wonder. This is arguably the best film I have seen in what seems like forever. The film is an adaptation of the book by R J Palacio. I usually like to read a book before watching the movie, often the latter disappoints when compared to my imagination. However, after watching this incredible movie, the book can only be better.
What is Wonder About?
Wonder is an amazing, uplifting story of August Pullman (Auggie) – a boy with facial deformities who joins a mainstream school (in fifth grade). This films portrays the story of a charming and charismatic young boy who loves science, but is judged by his appearance. Auggie is desperate to blend in and be like everyone else, but how can he when he is destined to stand out?
What I learnt from watching this movie and why I encourage others to read and watch Wonder(ful)?
- Don’t judge a book by its cover. I often use this phrase, but it wasn’t until I watched this film that I understood the true depth of its meaning. As humans we are quick to judge people by their appearance. People are often put into boxes without getting to know them first. This movie highlights how the person on the receiving end of this judgement feels and the impact it has on their lives.
- A child with special/additional needs can impact their family members. When you think of a child with special needs, they become central to everything. But, siblings and other members of the family can be equally affected, and the ‘disability’ can have a great impact on their lives too. This book/movie explores each character involved in Auggie’s life and tells the story from their point of view.
- It isn’t a cheesy, typical, feel sorry for me film. You get to know Auggie’s personality and other characters in the film. There are no clear cut villains or heros, just different reasons why people behave the way they do. Through humour, fun and effective story telling, the book/movie is able to deliver a powerful message.
- August Pullman is relatable. Aside from his obvious facial deformities, you can identify with his character. He is funny, loves Star Wars, has moments of self loathing, can be a tad bit stubborn and selfish. At the same time, he is lovable, friendly and super smart. I fell in love with his character and you will too!
- My favourite character is his sister. What? I hear you say. I know she isn’t the main character of the film, but who is? Auggie’s sister is a teenager. She was very close to her Grandmother before she passed away. Their Grandmother made her feel special and made time for her. At home, Auggie’s thoughts and feelings take precedence over his sister’s, and he is often the focal point of discussion. At school, she feels isolated after her best friend has stopped speaking to her. It is so easy to identify with this character and at times I had to stop myself from hugging the television.
If my reasons aren’t enough to convince you to read the book and watch the movie, let me leave you with my favourite quote from Wonder;
“The best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average– though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.”
Have you read the book or seen the movie? What are your thoughts and feelings about Wonder? Leave your comments below.