Movie Review: Wonder
You are likely to use up lots of tissue paper by the end of the this film. And, there is not one moment where you feel emotionally manipulated.
The plot closely follows its source material, the 2012 children's novel by R.J. Palacio, which deserves a read.
But Wonder is not just for younger viewers.
The story about a boy with a craniofacial disorder should resonate with every one of us, along with its message of how one's worth is not dependent on how one looks.
The scene where Auggie first walks into school is shocking.
The children in the crowded campus part like the Red Sea. All is quiet as attention is turned to Auggie.
At that moment, you understand why Auggie spends most of his life wearing an astronaut's helmet. Who wants to be stared at? Who wants to be made fun of all the time?
GROW ON YOU
Auggie may look hideous at first, but his looks grow on you as the film progresses.
That is the point director Stephen Chbosky (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) wants to drive home - how a community learns to become receptive to those who look different.
Also, Wonder attempts to show why mean children are mean. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Jacob Tremblay, who floored the world with his breakout performance in Room two years ago, totally owns the role, prosthetics and all.
He not only brings out Auggie's optimism but also his fears and angst, handling the emotional roller coaster like a pro.
He has fabulous support from Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as the loving parents who see the wisdom in not overprotecting Auggie.
Izabela Vidovic as Auggie's long-suffering older sister Via is a revelation, while Noah Jupe, who impressed in the recent movie Suburbicon, melts your heart as Auggie's good friend Jack.
Wonder is truly an inspiring and uplifting story for all ages.
RATING: 4 Stars
STARRING: Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson
DIRECTOR: Stephen Chbosky
THE SKINNY: Auggie (Tremblay) has been homeschooled all his life, but his parents (Roberts and Wilson) decide it is time for him to go to a school. But because the 10-year-old boy was born with a craniofacial disorder, they know assimilating will be a challenge.
Movie reviews: Narratage, The Thousand Faces Of Dunjia
THE THOUSAND FACES OF DUNJIA (PG)
RATING: 1 Star
I might have enjoyed this Yuen Woo Ping-directed, Tsui Hark-scripted period fantasy's ludicrous narrative were it not for its extreme campiness.
In this tale set in the Northern Song Dynasty, a young constable (Aarif Rahman) joins a group of warriors led by the Metal Dragonfly (Ni Ni) and fights evil aliens. Yes, evil aliens.
Apart from cringe-worthy wuxia tropes, the film's worst offence is its laughably bad graphics. The action scenes are generally entertaining until characters unleash their unintentionally hilarious powers.
The final nail in the coffin? When our heroes take on a huge Pokemon-like creature that is goofy and unthreatening.
Unless you want something to poke fun at, avoid this at all costs.
RATING: 2 Stars
Based on the best-selling romance novel by Rio Shimamoto,Narratage unfolds when Izumi (Kasumi Arimura) receives a call from her former high school teacher and love interest Takashi (Jun Matsumoto), who enlists her help for a graduation drama.
The film often cuts back to her high school days, which can get confusing.
Matsumoto's rigid Takashi is frustratingly boring.
A man of few words, he pulls a glum face in every scene and creepily plays hard to get with the underage schoolgirl.
Narratage's biggest issue is its excruciatingly slow pace, bogged down by silent shots of uninteresting characters doing mundane things, such as eating or taking a phone call.
The mesmerising soundtrack adds a needed dose of charm. But it is a shame that it is so sparingly used.
The cinematography is top-notch too, but that cannot redeem the overall drag.
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