“Wonder” is one of those films that are designed to make grandmas cry. It’s the most inoffensive, unchallenging movie I’ve seen in some time, for the film is composed entirely of feel-good fluff and touching familial moments. Of course, that is not a criticism of the film; it performs its intended function very well. It makes everyone feel good and appeals to as wide of an audience as possible by being as sweet and noncontroversial as a movie can be.
Who doesn’t love a story about a sweet, smart, and shy little boy overcoming his physical abnormalities and a host of school bullies while making a plethora of unlikely friends? There’s little doubt that the film does a perfectly fine job of ensuring the audience roots for the characters they’re supposed to and dislikes the characters they’re supposed to.
By the end of the movie, I felt well acquainted with all the film’s protagonists and was invested in their well-being, so the film is inarguably competent. However, the movie holds your hand and ensures that every aspect of the story is painfully clear as it moves through its narrative. For example, almost every major character is accompanied by narration in which their internal thoughts, feelings, and motivations are very clearly and intentionally spelled out, so there is not very much room for interpretation, thought, or participation on the part of the audience.
Additionally, when characters refer to events that occurred previously in the film, the footage is reshown just to ensure every member of the audience is following along. If this movie was anything other than the feel-good family picture that it is, I might have felt insulted.
It’s certainly not any sort of thought-provoking high art, but it’s sweet and inviting and has something for just about everyone. It’s worth seeing if you’re in the mood for something sweet and simple.