Full of ‘Wonder’

Choosing to be kind can change the world


Photo from Wonder.com

Story by Eleanor Schroeder, editor in chief

This weekend, the movie “Wonder,” based on the bestselling novel written by R.J. Palacio, premiered in theaters. Directed by Stephen Chbosky, this film incorporates a message of choosing to show love, acceptance and kindness toward all.

Auggie Pullman, played by Jacob Tremblay, suffered an extremely rare medical facial deformity called “mandibulofacial dysostosis,” and he has been homeschooled his entire life. However, as middle school is approaching, his mother (Julia Roberts) and father (Owen Wilson) encourages him to go to a regular school.

The movie periodically switched perspectives to other family members to provide a complete understanding of the challenges the characters experience. For instance, his sister, Via (Izabela Vidovic), has to deal with being an afterthought when all attention from their parents is focussed on Auggie.

Auggie is aware of onlookers who are staring at him, however the cruel reactions leave Auggie devastated and create a constant cycle of physical and emotional bullying. For the duration of the movie, Auggie must choose to either conquer the ruthless middle school environment or return to his secluded lifestyle.

Going into the movie, I had been told it would require a box of tissues, and as I sat in the middle of the packed theater, this expectation was met and even surpassed.

Auggie’s courage and the gradual acceptance of his personality by the other students inspire the audience to choose kindness and empathy, but also acknowledge that it is OK to stand out and be different. At a time when our country is abundant with hate, “Wonder” is a perfect reminder of how to treat others. If fifth graders can look past their differences, certainly adults should be able to as well.

Grab your friends, family and tissue box for this transformative, feel-good performance that is wonderful for all ages.