I'd heard about the movie Wonder a couple of times before I went to see it. I knew that it was about a young boy with facial differences and his family, and I'd heard that it was very good. That it was based on a book, and I thought that it would be a good one to see, possibly to read later as well.
I watched the movie this evening, and it was rather incredible. I liked it for a lot of reasons, many of them rather emotional and biased. So I'll try and get the non-biased ones out of the way first.
For those that haven't seen it - the movie is about August, or Auggie, a boy with facial differences, who is going to school for his first time after being homeschooled by his mother. It goes through one school year. One of the things it does really well is that, every now and then, it will jump to playing the story from a different person's point of view. Like the sister, Via (short for Olivia); or Auggie's friend, Jack Will; or Miranda, Via's best friend. It helps you to see the other side to the story now and then, and understand the complexity of what's being portrayed a little more. At a guess, this is something borrowed from the book, where different chapters follow different characters - but not having read it, I couldn't tell you!
I also love the various pop culture references; which vary from Minecraft, to Star Wars, to Major Tom. Seeing random Chewbaccas or space suits popping up was awesome.
It's also great to see the overcoming of bullying presented here. And also showing that, often, the bullies have their own issues that they're dealing with - the bullying is more a show and demonstration of power, trying to be bigger when they feel small; trying to have control when they usually don't. As someone who went through a bit of bullying in school - though not to the same extent Auggie did, and never physical - I really appreciate that.
But what I really love is the heart behind it. The story. Every character here has their own story, their own journey, even if only for a moment. Even the bully! You get to feel their ups and downs, ride with them on the emotional rollercoaster of life, feel the real pitfalls that seem to keep coming. (I may have fallen a little in love with Via - and then checked myself when IMDb told me the actress was only 16. Yeah, let's not go there.)
Having a younger sister with Down Syndrome, I also relate quite well to what is portrayed in the family on-screen. It was rather easy to draw a lot of parallels between my own experiences and what I saw there; though I can't say I've suddenly found myself going from understudy to lead in a moment. (Mild spoiler, sorry!) So, by the end, I was pretty emotionally invested in the film.
And I think all of us can learn a bit from Auggie. And from those like him in the world. Not to put people that are different on a pedestal, just because they're different; or because they have something more to overcome; but for their heart.
Do yourself a favour, and go and see this one. You won't regret it.
"When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind." - Dr Wayne Dwyer
Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.
Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him.
He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored!