Wonder Parent Guide
This well-made movie will have you wondering about the scars (visible and hidden) that affect the way we are seen by the world.
Parent Movie Review
It’s as plain as the nose on your face that Auggie Pullman (played by Jacob Tremblay) is no ordinary ten-year-old. Born with a genetic defect (that is never clearly identified in the film), the boy has undergone 27 surgeries in his short life and still has a face only a mother could love. Consequently, the youngster has been sheltered from the outside world and home schooled – until now.
Auggie’s mother (Julia Roberts) has decided that he should attend a real institution as he begins the first year of middle school. She logics that most of the other students will be new too, so it should ease the transition. Despite all the pep talks, and the support of his father (Owen Wilson) and sister Via (Izabela Vidovic), the whole family is secretly quite concerned about how Auggie’s facial deformities will be seen by his peers.
Much of this movie follows the quiet child as he tries to establish himself in a new environment that is less hospitable than the walls of his of own home. Auggie narrates as the other kids stare, and then turn away. Being shunned like he has the plague is hard enough, but the worst treatment comes from those who do notice him, and begin to taunt, tease and bully him. And that leads to suspicions even when a couple of his classmates (Noah Jupe, Millie Davis) attempt to befriend him.
Watching Aggie navigate the challenges of his situation would provide enough material for a good plot, yet this thoughtful script (which is based on a novel by R.J. Palacio) takes the story into unexpected territory. Rather than of just looking at the universe through Auggie’s eyes, where he is the central figure, it also examines what it is like to be one of the satellites in his solar system. Feelings of jealousy, neglect and isolation surface as the perspectives of his sister and other friends are shared.
If you are used to the kind of hype found in most Hollywood productions, you may be surprised that this tale features no exaggerated emotions or over-the-top scenarios. Instead, the characters portrayed here are dealing with problems regular people handle, like feeling let down by parents or acquaintances, school fights that are broken up by teachers and administrative staff, or family pets that get sick. And they are solved (or not) in the normal methods, though caring loved-ones, sincere apologies, concerned educators and moments of tears.
And that is what I liked best about Wonder. Although the film contains depictions of school kids fist-fighting, a teen couple kissing, and parents drinking, the movie speaks to those times when we feel like we are all alone, and reminds us that we are not. In a subtle way, it exposes the fact that we all carry scars – even if they aren’t as visible as the nose on Auggie’s face. And it demonstrates the extraordinary power that’s unleashed when ordinary people do kind things.Directed by Stephen Chbosky. Starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay . Running time: 114 minutes. Theatrical release November 17, 2017. Updated November 21, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is Wonder rated PG? Wonder is rated PG by the MPAA for thematic elements including bullying, and some mild language
Violence: Teens and children experience various forms of bullying, including: teasing, belittling, mocking, taunting, gossiping, verbal threats and being ignored. These behaviors occasionally escalate into fist-fights where pushing and punching occur. One boy gets a mild head injury after being shoved and knocked to the ground. Adults also attempt to bully other adults to manipulate them. Characters experience feelings of jealousy, neglect and betrayal. Kids cheat on a school test. A dog bites a person and is euthanized. Spouses keep secrets from one another.
Sexual Content: Mild sexual innuendo, butt jokes and some potty humor are included in the script. Boys urinate in the great outdoors (implied, not shown). A teen couple kisses and embraces. A child birth is depicted with few details. An extra-marital affair that causes a divorce is mentioned.
Profanity: Name-calling and terms of deity are used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink alcohol at home and at celebrations: sometimes teens drink too. It is implied that an adult character has a drinking problem. An adult suggests to another that they get drunk.
Page last updated November 21, 2017
More parents' guide for Wonder after the break...
Wonder Parents' Guide
A character muses, “The heart is the map of where you are going. The face is the map of where you have been.” What can we learn about people by observing their faces? How does texting and other popular forms of communication block this important source of information? Conversely, what can’t we know about some by looking at their face? Is it tempting to judge a person by the way they appear?
In this film, we learn discover the hidden stories of many people, as well as Auggie. For example, his sister feels like she’s neglected by her parents because of all the attention paid to her brother. We learn why a kid at school perpetually bullies Auggie. How does this movie differ from other films with similar characters and themes? Why should we consider what is motivating our enemies? Have you thought about the hidden hurts that may exist in other people who appear to be “normal”?
Why does Auggie often wear an astronaut helmet? What does his fascination with space and with costumes quietly say about the way he sees his place in the world and his concerns over the way other’s see him? Why does his sister tell him, “You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out”? Does her council apply to anyone besides Auggie?
How does having a friend change the way Auggie sees school? What other characters depend heavily on friendship to feel accepted? Do you rely on it too? How might extending an offer of friendship be helpful for some you know? How might making a new friend also benefit you?
Looking for some ways to share the message of Wonder with your family? Check out the craft ideas on Paging Supermom.
News About "Wonder"
This movie is based on the novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
From the Studio:
Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman. Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to discover their compassion and acceptance, Auggie's extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can't blend in when you were born to stand out.
Written by Lionsgate