As potentially cloying and manipulative as Wonder (Lionsgate, 11.17) may turn out to be, I’m responding to this trailer with feeling, just like I did two months ago at Cinemacon when I saw some footage. You can sense that director Steven Chbosky (The Perks of Being A Wallflower) has handled things with restraint. Maybe.
I reported on 3.30 that a Lionsgate spokesperson told the Cinemacon crowd “that Wonder has gotten the highest test scores of any Lionsgate film ever. And so the original release date, 4.7.17, was changed last February to 11.17, which means that Lionsgate is confident that Wonder has the Oscar nuts.”
Wonder is a delicate family drama in the vein of Peter Bogdanovich‘s Mask. Based on three relatively recent novels by R.J. Palacio, it’s about the journey of a young kid with a facial deformity (Jacob Tremblay) as he acclimates to school, and how his parents (Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson) and extended family help him along.
Palacio’s books were adapted by Steven Conrad. Wonder‘s costars include Mandy Patinkin, Sonia Braga, Millie Davis, Izabela Vidovic, Danielle Rose Russell and Noah Jupe.
Who knows how good Wonder will turn out to actually be, but I can almost guarantee that the same Academy members who nominated Garth Davis‘s heart-tugging Lion for six Oscars (including Best Picture) are going to give it up for Wonder.