Wonder is about a 10-year-old boy named August “Auggie”, who was born with a rare medical facial deformity and had undergone 27 different surgeries. Auggie was home-schooled mainly by his mother until she decided that it is time for him to join elementary school. Directed by Stephen Chbosky and starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and a cast of amazing actors including Jacob Tremblay. The movie Wonder, released in 2017, was inspired by the bestselling novel of the same name by R.J. Palacio 2012.

As parents, we all hope at some point in our life if we could shield our kids from cruelty of the world specifically if our kids happen to be “different” in any form. Despite fear of the unknown, Auggie’s mother pushes her kid out of its warm nest, because there is so much more that he can learn from the world out there. Roberts plays her role outstandingly well, in a way that you cannot help but sympathize with her. Moreover, the world does not always revolve around us. Auggie, the science geek, space obsessed boy had to literally take off his astronaut toy helmet and step out of his comfort zone.

This raises a critical question on the significance of home schooling compared to mainstream schools.  Many parents opt for homeschooling for their kids with physical, emotional, developmental, intellectual and sensory disabilities because these kids often get lost in the traditional class room setting additionally, parents fear their kids will be bulled and/or rejected because of their differences. Unless the school is capable to accommodate these kids and help them reach their full potential, the only safe option for parents is homeschooling.

Supported by his family, Auggie embarks on his journey to the world of schools including teachers, friends, bullies, enemies & frenemies (those whom are your friends one day and your enemies the next, you can find a couple of these in your adult life as well!). The movie does not sugarcoat the truth; on the contrary it sends a strong message about bullying at schools. We see how Auggie is welcomed by staring, name calling and abandonment for being different, because his mere appearance in a class photo is not so ‘cool’ for these kids or their parents (yes,  parents can be so mean!).    

In refreshing twist, the movie sheds light on the life of ‘Via’ the teenage sister of the central character Auggie, like many families who’ve had a kid with a special condition, the rest of the kids have to adapt to having their parents attention directed to that kid. Via personality provides a vibrant addition to the image of a perfect family.

How often do parents struggle to instill important values in their children, it might not be a bad idea to suggest watching a movie that inspires empathy, perseverance and kindness. Wonder has an abundance of positive emotions; it leaves you feeling like spreading kindness all over. I watched this one with my mother and my kids, we all left the movies with red noses yet smiles on our faces.

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