Auggie lives with his loving mother, father “Nate” (Owen Wilson) and older sister “Via” (Izabela Vidovic). He loves Star Wars, Science and other “normal” pursuits but frequently only goes outside when wearing an astronaut’s helmet.
Disfigured at birth, Auggie has had numerous plastic surgery operations and only now feels ready, as much as one ever could, to face his toughest test, other children.
As anyone who has ever been young knows, children can be cruel. This is proven in practice, despite the carefully laid plans of the sympathetic headmaster (Mandy Patinkin) and sensitive form teacher (Daveed Diggs).
The film follows Auggie’s journey both good and bad but also takes time to spin around and show the story from the perspective of other characters. Auggie’s friend, his sister and her friend, in some ways attempting to explain why the characters act like they do.
As they say, everyone is dealing with something and doing the best they can.
The film is a cry for compassion, acceptance, tolerance and whilst undeniably “holloywoodised” to some degree, does at least acknowledge this would be a real challenge to overcome.
Tremblay gets to act the entire film under heavy prosthesis, quite a challenge for a young actor and does well in the circumstances. Vidovic makes the most of what could have been a throw away role. As you would expect, Robert’s again shows she has talent to burn. The face she conjures up when Jacob asks to bring a friend home is a picture.
Wilson is a surprise, keeping his laid back cool in place, yet checked enough to come across as sincere. “Jack Will” (Noah Jupe) a prospective friend is also a stand out, particularly the scene where he realises the consequences of his actions, a future talent to watch.
The film is family orientated and could be seen by a wide audience, without issue. Auggie is “different” but hardly stop the traffic frightening and everything is all pleasantly sorted by the time the closing credits roll. Social media is never mentioned and the school and teachers are the epitome of restraint and understanding, even bullies are understood and treated with sympathy.
Children of course tend to be a reflection of their parents and this point is telegraphed, with the main protagonist only learning and repeating his parents somewhat suspect attitudes.
Arguably a “movie of the week” albeit populated with “A” list actors, which tugs on the heartstrings just the right side of contrived.
Any movie espousing acceptance of anyone who seems “different” in our current political climate gets this reviewers vote