Wonder has been sparking discussions in our home since we watched it several weeks ago. This film, about a boy with facial deformities who goes to school for the first time, is a great way to discuss bullying and friendship with your kids. Our family enjoyed the story and characters as much as the family-friendly nature of Wonder and the positive messages it promotes.
Based on the best-selling novel, see why critics are raving about Wonder! Starring Julia Roberts, Jacob Tremblay and Owen Wilson, it’s a perfect film for the whole family. Now on Blu-ray™ and On Demand!
I received compensation for this post, but all opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Augie Pullman (played by Jacob Tremblay) was born with rare facial deformities. He’s had nearly 30 surgeries to correct them. Despite that, he still looks… different. His space helmet lets him hide while immersing himself in his favourite daydream. But this year, Augie’s mom (Julia Roberts) has decided it’s time for him to start private school. Leaving behind homeschooling also means leaving behind the helmet.
At school, Augie meets three kids who help show him around: Julian, Jack, and Summer. Julian is the perfect kid—when the adults are around. Along with some friends, he begins making fun of Augie and bullying him, sending cruel notes. Unable to hide in his helmet, Augie instead hides in his imagination, thinking about how Chewbacca would be received if he showed up. He does become friends with Summer and Jack, and is supported by an amazing teacher and the principal.
One thing I loved about Wonder was its very positive portrayal of family. Augie’s parents remind him over and over again how much they love him just the way he is. He and his sister Via have a typical sibling relationship, but she’s also protective and worries about him as much as his parents. They aren’t a perfect family, but they are a close family.
It was also neat to see a film that features a homeschooler. Even though Augie is ending his homeschool days, homeschooling is given a positive light. It allowed Augie to thrive academically while undergoing his surgeries. At the school, Julian tries to make fun of Augie for being homeschooled—until Augie corrects Jack’s pronunciation of “supposedly” and offers, “Maybe my mom could homeschool you too.”
Sunshine said Wonder is a movie about a boy who was “ordinary and extraordinary at the same time.” In many ways, Augie is a normal kid. He likes astronauts and Star Wars, annoys his big sister, jumps on his bed. He’s extraordinary in the ways he touches those around him. Julian, Jack and Summer each have different reactions to Augie and learn a lot from him. (Hmmm, that could be a great discussion or report topic!)
With Pink Shirt Day coming up on February 28th, Wonder would be a great way to talk with kids about how Augie is treated at school, how he could have reacted to the bullies, and how others respond to the bullies. I chatted with the girls about how we treat someone who is different from us. As Sunshine said, Augie is an ordinary kid. He just looks a bit different, but as Summer and Jack learned, that doesn’t matter. We can still be friends with people who are different.
The girls were also excited to learn that Jacob Tremblay is a Canadian actor. They thought it was cool that he was born right here in Vancouver and that most of the movie was filmed here. Like Augie, Jacob is eleven years old and a big fan of Star Wars. He’s also a Vancouver Canucks fan. As an actor, he’s played some tough roles; his breakout performance was Room in 2015. He’s been nominated for multiple awards for his performance in Wonder.
Finally, I really appreciated being able to take my girls to see a good, clean, family film. It’s hard to find movies these days that don’t have any questionable content. While this movie was about a boy around Sunshine’s age, I checked PluggedIn’s review before going to the theatre to make sure it was okay for her. I was thoroughly impressed by Wonder and hope that its success will convince other film companies to continue making family-friendly movies.
“*Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson earnestly pour their hearts into this poignant, realistic story about a young son who is different. It stitches together a heartfelt world populated with loving parents, admirable teachers, and kids who believably struggle with who they are and what they need.” ~ Bob Hoose, PluggedIn
If you missed Wonder in theatres, you can grab it now on DVD or watch it on-demand. Sunshine and Lily keep asking us when they can watch it again and Sunshine wants to read the book. Your kids will love it too!