The Wonder Behind “Wonder


Elizabeth DeLeo, Writer

The newly released film “Wonder,” which is loosely based on a true story, is warming the hearts of audiences worldwide. The film, which was released on Nov. 17, is an adaptation of the novel of the same name, which was published on Feb. 14, 2012. The novel was written by Raquel Jaramillo who based “Wonder” around a true event that her family experienced while waiting in line to buy ice cream. Jaramillo’s son noticed a little girl with facial birth defects and  he cried out in fear, upsetting the girl. After this experience, Jaramillo was embarrassed with the way her family reacted to the situation.

That night, Jaramillo started writing “Wonder,” and it quickly came to her. “Wonder” tells the story of August Pullman, who was born with facial defects, known as mandibulofacial dysostosis. The story starts out with Auggie entering the fifth grade, and attending a public school for the first time in his life after being homeschooled by his mother. Auggie is faced with new challenges with his family, new classmates, and the community. It takes everyone a while to fully show their acceptance and compassion throughout Auggie’s journey. The movie exemplifies the quote “you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.” This quote is stated in the movie by Auggie’s big sister ,Via Pullman, as motivation for his first day of school.

The movie has a star-studded cast portraying many of the characters. Jacob Tremblay plays Auggie Pullman, Julia Roberts plays Auggie’s mom, and Owen Wilson portrays Auggie’s dad. When asked in an interview with the Los Angeles Times how she felt about the movie, Julia Roberts shared, I think everybody wants to feel good, and we’ve really gotten into this mire and this habit and this sport of negativity. Maybe that’s why the book struck such a chord in me. I feel that I am such an innately optimistic, happy person. And then the news, the world, is just like dulling spray,” she said.

The whole movie has been receiving rave reviews. Owen Gleiberman stated in Variety that “Wonder” is “a drama of disarmingly level-headed empathy that glides along with wit, assurance, and grace, and has something touching and resonant to say about the current climate of American bullying.” Betsy Bozdech commented on Common Sense Media, “Based on R. J. Palacio’s hugely popular, award-winning novel, this drama is earnest and sweet, with great messages about kindness, friendship, and acceptance for its tween target audience.” With all of the buzz surrounding “Wonder,” make an effort to go see this movie because it is truly inspirational and you won’t regret it!