THEPoint of view is everything. And a different point of view can change everything. Very briefly, it is the moral of Wonder2017 film broadcast on Rai 1 tonight 20 June at 21.25. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson impersonate Isabel and Nate, Auggie’s parents (Jacob Tremblay), child with deformed face that, once in society, he deals with the perfidious judgments of the people.
But with strength, irony and great personality, Auggie manages to make himself known and appreciated for who he is, beyond his physical appearance. So he manages to change the point of view of those who initially mocked him, bulliedif it was okay, they ignored him.
Wonder: 27 operations and deformed face
The protagonist is Auggieten year old child who, due to Treacher Collins syndromehas a severe craniofacial malformation. To be able to see, breathe, hear without a device he had to undergo twenty-seven surgeries. “But no one gave me a normal appearance,” says the little one, resigned to feeling different and happy to live isolated and protected in his “enclosure” which is home. Till now indeed the parents preferred not to send him to school, organizing private lessons at home. The reason was to avoid the normal health problems that a child does has when in contact with other children.
But now mother Isabel-Julia Roberts decides it’s time for Auggie to take on society. Like this enrolls him in school. The child is afraid. Passionate about science, prefers to stay at home wearing an astronaut helmet (which also serves to not show its deformity). In the end, however, she is convinced.
The courage to make “the debut in society”
The entrance to the school makes the Magone come: he advances, all the others make room for him, staring at him, some with amazement, some with fear, some with disgust. Auggie finds himself alone and isolated. A hand to fit in, it comes from the world of adults: it is the principal who gives to three companions (Julian, Jack and Charlotte) the task of showing him the school and socializing with him. The feeling, however, only bursts between Auggie and Jack. Charlotte struggles while Julian comes to bully him openly, to the point of being suspended from school for a period. Then even he has to change schools.
After all, Auggie is happy, think about the positive thing, that ishaving finally found a friend in Jack. Therefore the disappointment is very strong when, without being seen, he hears that Jack speaks ill of him too (“I’ve never seen anything so horrible, if I were like him I’d go out with a hood on my face”).
But over time everything changes: Auggie, with the help of parents (“I know you don’t always like it, but I love it it’s my son’s face”, says the mother) e with courage, dignity and patience manages to be appreciated and esteemed by everyone. And to him, who would like to be invisible, the comrades reply: “You’re the toughest in school, you can’t hide if you were born to stand out.”
Bullying, but also an eternal dualism between being and appearing
Wonder it’s not just a bullying movie and how to defeat him. It’s a sort of sociological reflection on the social dynamics that are created in difficult situations. Why in Wonder there is not only the point of view of Auggie, sweet but not at all docileon the contrary granite and determined. There is also Mom Isabel’s point of viewwho canceled his life to protect (too much? who knows) the deformed son.
There is the point of view of Olivia, Auggie’s sister, who feels neglected by her parents because she is normal, and she is the only one who treats her brother normally. There are the points of view of classmates: at first frightened by Auggie’s diversity, then they come to have a sincere admiration for him. There is the reflection on diseases that disfigure the appearancebut they do not affect the substance. And there is the eternal, infinite dualism between being and appearing. “Do not judge a person by his appearance”, is the motto of the film. Which recalls another motto: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” What does that have to do with anything? It has to do with: Wonder it is in fact based on a novel.
The system Wonder”: A novel, three spin-off books and illustrated volumes
What you can (re) see on TV is the work of director Stephen Chbosky. But Wonder it is much more than a movie. It is inspired by the novel of the same name (among other things the debut one) of the American Raquel Jaramillo, aka RJ Palacio (where Palacio is the surname of the Colombian mother). The chapters of the book bear the names of the various protagonists, because they tell the story from the point of viewprecisely, of that character, to say that everyone has a burden to carry.
Published in 2012, immediately became a world bestseller: for over fifty-five weeks it was on the bestseller list of the New York Times, translated into fifty-three languages, it has sold over 15 million copies worldwide. So much and such was the success that the author, at the request of the public, between 2014 and 2015, has written three other spin-off books of the first: A Wonder Story – Julian’s Book, A Wonder Story – Christopher’s book, A Wonder Story – Charlotte’s Book. Each focuses on the point of view of a different character (not covered in the main novel).
Not only: other volumes followed, including an illustrated version and a graphic novel (Giunti Editore).
The spin-off of the film is also expected (with Helen Mirren)
In late 2020, LionsGate announced that it is wanting to create a spin off of the spin off, that is of A Wonder Story – Julian’s Book. The title of the film should be White Bird and will tell the story of Julian, a schoolmate who bullies Auggie who, forced to change schools, comes to repent and apologize to Auggie. Julian learns his lesson too listening to the grandmother (who will have the face of Helen Mirren) that says that, during the Second World War, she managed to save herself by the Germans thanks to a boy named Julian, also (coincidentally) with a deformity (in the legs this time).
Everything started like this
Imagine having to speak to a person with a deformed face. Indeed no: with a child with a deformed face. And imagine that you are a parent with your young child next to you. In theory, the reaction should be: have no reactions. Because the deformed child is like the others. Point. In theory. In practice, normalcy is to feel the instinct to turn around and not look. Indeed no: not to make your child look, who knows how he can react. Here you are, this happened to RJ Palacio one day while he was in the park with his son. And that very initial instinct of her to run away from her, so shocked her that it led her to write her first novel, Wonder.
The curiosity is that the film (like the book) it is also addressed to the underage public (it is often recommended by middle school teachers), yet in the United States it was banned to minors under the age of ten unaccompanied by adults for “bullying and strong language”.
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