Cinematic Releases: The Beauty of Youth: Wonder (Reviewed) 2017

In what is easily one of the most heart tugging films of 2017 comes a shimmering light in the form a beautiful script that captures the pains of childhood in our current world. Bullying is personified. Hope is revealed. And a sense of wonder is brought back to theaters. Bring tissues. Bring your kids. They need to see this film. 

When a child is born with a genetic defect, he must face the pains of being introduced to the cold world of students at his local school. After being raised on home schooling for his early years, he's suddenly thrown into a social circle of children that don't truly understand how to be supportive when they're introduced to someone different. As a portrait of young kids, Wonder is introspective, painful, and absolutely endearing. Like a mirror that only reflects the truth, this motion picture never abandons the archetype of how evil and mean school kids can be. But it also lets us know that vicious constructs can be torn down when given the proper guidance. 

Played by a cast that feels like they're a real family, this fictional tale is wonderful. With Julia Roberts taking the matriarchal lead role, audiences are handed a study in parenting, the loss we might feel when our offspring is different, and the way we must support each other at all costs. Owen Wilson plays the emotionally astute father with a fresh perspective we haven't felt from him in years as the stunning Izabela Vidovic takes on the role of Via, the sister with a heart of gold. And of course Mandy Patinkin is here. What do you want me to say? The man is a genius. 

I may not look pretty but I beat Roberts and Wilson
into submission with my dramatic chops. You hear that Oscar?

However, the best part of this tear jerking feature comes in the form of child star Jacob Tremblay. Unlike many other kid actors, he has a real gift for personifying a troubled youth that just craves normalcy. He's a natural talent that can do both hilarious scenes of comedy and can emote at the drop of a hat. Through the thickest areas of the movie, Tremblay never disappoints. He  presents a realistic portrayal that's well beyond his years. Honestly, if this guy doesn't get an Oscar nomination, I might be completely shocked. He deserves it. 

In a world where the cineplex is loaded with superheroes, action stars, transforming robots, and lightsabers, this Wonder brings the family drama back into our hearts. It's something we need more of. Back in the '80s and '90s, these types of movies were released all the time. It's nice to see that someone out there knew how powerful this story is and decided to transition it to film. Coming at year's end definitely expect to see some awards talk. 

If you're a Star Wars fan, you'll adore all the little nods that are thrown in throughout Wonder.