Cinema

Movies: Wonder

Omnes-June 21, 2018-Reading time: 2 minutes

Chbosky achieves a smooth ride, with surprises, metaphors for life in the science classroom, humor, and the depth that the natural tensions of the plot allow. Those who haven't turned the page on their childhood and put kindness before rationalized justice will enjoy the film.

Text -José María Garrido

Title: Wonder
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Screenplay: Steve Conrad, Jack Thorne
United States, 2017

Five years ago Stephen Chbosky tackled some murky issues of adolescence and friendship in The Perks of Being an Outcast. Now he turns the camera on the difficulties of acceptance, his own and others', of a boy with a deformed face who starts school.

Auggie (Jacob Trembley) has everything but an admirable face. His small family, father included, gravitates around him. The bold mother (Julia Roberts rules) has homeschooled him until he was ten years old. The boy is sharp and happy, though he still wavers in the ambivalence of being an astronaut and hiding his face: he likes to wear the space helmet. When the time comes for him to go to high school, his parents decide that he should go to school with his face uncovered.

The script adapts with good rhythm the juvenile book La lección de August, by Raquel Jaramillo Palacio. A lot of things happen in a school year: classes, slogans of the day, recess, lunchroom, sly glances, inchoate friendships, Halloween, Christmas, well-meaning lies, reconciliation... Some viewers find it hard to get used to a child being the main narrator, and even more so with dubbing. But the credibility of the story grows because of the successful performances of the cast and because the film -following the novel- recounts those months also from the point of view of other characters.

Chbosky achieves a smooth ride, with surprises, metaphors for life in the science classroom, humor, and the depth that the natural tensions of the plot allow. Those who haven't turned the page on their childhood and put kindness before rationalized justice will enjoy the film.

For those who want another educational story, with less budget and in a husky key, there is La vida y nada más, by the Spaniard Antonio Méndez. They are the antipodes of the Wonder miracle: a poor, unstructured black family, a hard-working and foul-mouthed mother, two children in her care because the father is in jail, while she tries to redirect the teenage son who flirts with delinquency in search of his full identity, that is, his paternal bond... Almost theater, without music, cut by the fades to black and its silences, filmed in English. Also in this film, the characters learn to look with more understanding at the one closest to them.

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