“Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle and if you really want to see what people are, all you have to do is look”(Wonder 1:45:26). This is the leading quote of the New York times bestselling movie, Wonder, written and directed by Stephen Chbosky, which tells the story of 10-year-old boy Auggie Pullman who was born with a genetic facial difference that has left numerous scars on his face. He has had 27 surgeries on his face allowing him to see, breath, and hear without a hearing aid.
Auggie had been homeschooled up until the 5th grade when his parents encourage him to attend a conventional school, where he meets bullies and good friends as he attends for the first time. Auggie has his ups and downs while attending middle school, but he learns life lessons along the way. He has a supportive family that always has his back even when Auggie feels like nobody understands him. Chbosky uses the appeals of rhetorical situation to show the audience what it’s like to be a boy in the 5th grade with a facial difference.
This movie portrays many lessons about kindness, courage, friendship, and how we look on the inside instead of the outside. Although Auggie struggles to fit in with his peers, he comes out on top.
The leading element that Chbosky uses in this film is pathos. He uses our emotions to draw us in. For example, Auggie had this astronaut helmet that he wore everywhere in the beginning of the movie, as his desire to hide from the world.
Auggie says “ I wish every day could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks”(Wonder 46:23). All Auggie wants is a chance to show who he is on the inside before anyone gets a chance to judge the way he looks. Chbosky also uses emotion to show how strong Auggie is. He faces a lot during his journey of 5th grade: physical and emotional pain, harsh comments, and imitating drawings left in his locker. Auggie faced it all, but he never once gave up.
Another convincing element that Chbosky uses in this film is Kairos. He shows the reality and life lessons of middle school, not just as a ten-year-old boy with a facial deformity but in reality. Although the movie is focused on ten year old Auggie Pullman, Chbosky also shows us the life of those around him. For example, Via, Auggie’s older sister sometimes feels like she has nowhere to turn because her parents are too focused on Auggie. For example they had a family dinner after the first day of school. Auggie had a horrible day, so they were more focused on how his day went and never asked her. Via looked to the dog and said, “are they not going to ask me about how my day went” (Wonder 23:40). Upon returning to school after the summer she quickly realizes that her closest friend drifted apart from her, leaving Via feeling alone. She joined theater, mer her boyfriend Justin, and quickly felt like she belonged again. Another point in the film we are show the timeliness of middle school is throughout Julian. Julian is portrayed as the “cool” kid, or in other words, the bully of the fifth grade. His parents don’t seem to pay much attention in his life, so we see him take this anger out on Auggie. Middle school can be a challenging point in some peoples life and Chbosky did a good job showing us this throughout the main characters.
This 113 minute film, Wonder is an inspirational film that will not only pull on your heartstrings but hopefully teach you lessons about kindness along the way. I recommend this movie not only to middle school aged children but adults too. This is the kind of movie that will make you think about your actions and how they impact others well after seeing them in theaters. Chbosky does a wonderful job at incorporating themes and making them clear. Critic consensus from Rotten Tomatoes states, “Wonder doesn’t shy away from its bestselling source material’s sentiment, but this well-acted and overall winsome drama earns its tugs at the heartstrings.” This film was rated a 4.2 / 5 and brought in $132,090,170.
While it’s clear that Chbosky uses many appeals, some a little stronger than the others, I think this film definitely deserves everyone’s time and money. Chbosky did a fabulous job setting the scene. In today’s society were so quick to judge others on appearance and what they have or don’t have, but it’s time for us to realize that appearance and materialistic items are the least important. While I believe his focus towards this film was to teach serious lessons, he does give it a happy ending. Chbosky teaches us that it’s all about what’s on the inside. Middle school is probably one of the hardest transitions in a child’s life. They are still figuring out who they are, starting a new chapter, and making all kinds of new friends. This movie will for sure take you on an emotional rollercoaster, but more importantly, it will teach you many lessons along the way.