WONDER Review — Plus Rundowns of the Other Two Movies With 'Wonder' in the Titles

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A whole lot of wonder at the cineplex

by Lisa Johnson Mandell


wonder reviewI suppose everyone is in the mood for a feel good movie with an anti-bully message right about now, but this saccharine after-school-special quality film doesn’t do the subject or the genre justice.

It’s taken from the novel of the same name, and novel is the operative term here. It’s not based on anything that really happened anywhere,  so the abuse, the bullying, the  heroism and the victories all feel rather awkwardly contrived.

Although Jacob Tremblay (Room) is convincing as a boy with a deformed countenance who has to navigate the troubled waters of junior high school, and Owen Wilson is charming as the Cool Dad, Julia Roberts is completely wasted as the Frumpy Mom.

Now that the enchanting Coco is out, this is one family film you don’t need to feel bad about skipping.

Rated PG

1 Hour 53 Minutes


Wonder ReviewFar more vibrant and colorful than your average annual Woody Allen work, Wonder Wheel, about an ersatz family that lives in an upstairs apartment on Coney Island in the ’50’s, is a pleasure to look at, if not particularly scintillating to watch.

The script is toneless and uninspired, although Kate Winslet, as Ginny, a blousy waitress/housewife, can make anything sound good,  and puts in a stellar performance. It’s also interesting to see Justin Timberlake, as the life guard who gets entangled with both Ginny and her stepdaughter Rose (Juno Temple). But Temple and Jim Belushi, the husband/father/sexist/50’s working man, are in over their heads. It’s not like Allen to miscast so blatently.

The the film is not without its virtues, however. The cinematography by Vittorio Storaro, is breathtaking. But for most people, it’s not quite enough to make this film worth the price of admission.

Rated PG-13

1 Hour 41 Minutes


wonder reviewDirector Todd Haynes (Carol, Far From Heaven) has a knack for making lush modern period pieces about the interior lives of women, so it’s interesting to see what happens when he turns his attentions to the interior lives of children, and I do mean interior, since some them cannot hear the outside world.

Wonderstruck is a bit of a fantasy, really, based on Brian Selznick’s popular novel of the same name, about Ben and Rose, two children who live in different eras, whose longings and quests, almost magically intertwine. If that sounds cryptic, so is the film, and it’s perhaps too subtle for some viewers, including myself, to follow completely.

The film is strengthened, however, by strong performances from Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, young Oaks Fegley and Millicent Simmonds, plus a unique and charming fantasy world. A fine film for mature, thoughtful children and their parents, but I’d still go see Coco first.

Rated PG

1 Hour 57 Minutes

Get times and tickets at Fandango.com.


A whole lot of wonder movies, by Lisa Johnson Mandell

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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