The Films of Stephen Chbosky
The Four Corners of Nowhere
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
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Wonder (December 13/17)
Based on a book by R.J. Palacio, Wonder follows Auggie (Jacob Tremblay), a young boy born with a pronounced facial disfigurement, as he attempts to adjust to his new surroundings at a local public school – with the narrative also detailing the impact that Auggie's new situation has on his mother (Julia Roberts’ Isabel), father (Owen Wilson’s Nate), and sister (Izabela Vidovic's Via). It’s relatively familiar material that’s handled exceedingly well by filmmaker Stephen Chbosky, as the writer/director delivers a deliberately-paced yet often engrossing drama that’s rife with agreeably emotional beats and interludes. It is, as such, rather easy to overlook the shamelessly manipulative bent of many key portions of the narrative (eg there’s a whole subplot involving the family dog that seems to exist solely to wring the viewer’s tears), with the movie’s down-to-earth atmosphere perpetuated by a selection of better-than-expected performances from a uniformly strong cast (including Tremblay’s heartwrenching, unrecognizable turn as the sympathetic protagonist). And while the movie might not quite reach the heights of Chbosky's last effort, 2012's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Wonder is nevertheless a seriously above-average drama that succeeds on virtually every level it attempts.