J & J's Gibberish J & J's Gibberish: The Wonders of the Movie Wonder

J & J's Gibberish: The Wonders of the Movie Wonder

J & J's Gibberish: The Wonders of the Movie Wonder

This week for March Break, Cineplex Odeon is having movie days --- cheap good, family movies for $2.99 so if you are looking to get out of the house, check them out.

Jacob, his sister and I went to see Wonder yesterday.  It was a very moving story with Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.  In the movie, they are parents to Auggie, who has a genetic birth defect that alters his appearance, distorting his face. 

Auggie, a delightful young lad, has been homeschooled but finally enters school in grade 5 and part of the movie is about his struggles to fit in and his bullying battles.  It also shows the compassion of other kids and how children can evolve.

It was fascinating to watch as a parent of a special needs child as some of those experiences have mirrored ours. It is hard to see another child experiencing rejection onscreen, but it helped Jacob to see that others go through hard times too.  In fairness, he had read the book, but to see a book brought to life on the silver screen gives it another feel.

There are lots of fantastic moments in this movie.  It touches on the perspectives of others, including Auggie’s sister Via.  What is often overlooked in all the talk about mental health is how hard it can be on the family.  While Auggie’s struggles were not based on mental health, the effects on the family were similar:  when Auggie needed something, mother Julia Roberts jumped.  Even when it was supposed to be mother-daughter time (and skipping school to do it… been there done that), Auggie got sick and interrupted their day. 

It would take an extraordinary kid not to get angry about that and while Via’s feelings of exclusion are touched upon, including denying she had a brother with her boyfriend, in the end she is the extremely supportive sister. That was an opportunity missed by filmmakers. What would have made the movie less schmaltzy and more realistic would have been a true exploration of the negative feelings that having special needs in a household can elicit.  In fact, never seeing Julia Roberts or Owen Wilson lose it and always be the supportive parents without frustrations was completely unrealistic. Even trying to get this blog post done has been an exercise in frustration with the endless interruptions by my beautiful son.

However, over all, it was a fantastic film that will touch anyone, and especially anyone living with special needs at home.  The movie certainly got a few tears out of me.

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