A natural Wonder

Jenna Lasky, Staff Writer

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As I was casually scrolling through a list of upcoming movies, I spotted the word “Wonder” in big letters. I realized, gleefully, that one of my favorite books by R.J. Palacio was about to become a feature film.

The comedy-drama movie “Wonder” was released in theaters nationally on Nov. 17, 2017.

Auggie Pullman, played by Jacob Tremblay as the starring role, is like any other 10-year-old Star Wars fanatic. Sadly, Auggie’s personality is often overlooked due to his facial birth defects, which are a result of a rare genetic disorder called Treacher Collins syndrome.

After Auggie’s transition from homeschooling to a mainstream elementary school, he is quickly faced with a barrage of rejection, exclusion and harassment.

When he walks into school on the first day, having parted with his family and the only protection he knows, he is utterly alone. Students hurry away from him, acting as though he has the plague.” While Auggie’s parents constantly support him with their determined attitudes and rousing pep talks, his peers’ bullying takes a large emotional toll. Despite original judgements, Auggie is able to use his charm and wit to find friends and acceptance.

“Wonder” is a heartwarming story that unfolds similarly to the plot of Palacio’s original novel. The movie is divided into four perspectives, with the narration switching to showcase the varying attitudes of the people in Auggie’s life. The narrators include Auggie, Auggie’s sister Via, Via’s friend Miranda and Auggie’s classmate Jack Will. The viewpoints add new layers which allow the characters’ stories to intertwine and build on each other.

In one scene, Jack sits down next to Auggie in the cafeteria, only to be warned by Auggie that his eating habits are a little disturbing. Jack shrugs and proceeds to shove his face into his sandwich, claiming to be a “dinosaur.” Auggie’s face transforms with laughter. Jack shows Auggie he has an ally — Auggie’s first glimpse of hope amidst the brutality of his peers.

It was poignant moments like this that captured viewers’ hearts and minds immediately.

Now is the time to revise your weekend plans, because this cinematic experience will not disappoint. Although, I am warning you to pack some extra tissues because you may need them.

“Wonder” highlights the cruelties of bullying, the resilience of its victims and the importance of family and friends when dealing with jarring life changes. This is a lesson to all, as Via said, “You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.”

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A natural Wonder