‘Wonder’ – Inspirational Films Creating Change

Wonder movie

Released in 2017, Wonder is a ‘feel-good,’ family-friendly movie based on the 2012 bestselling novel by R.J. Palacio and follows a boy who was born with a craniofacial condition known as Treacher Collins syndrome, which causes disfigurement.

The book was inspired by a real-life encounter Palacio had with a child who had a craniofacial disorder. After her son saw the child and began crying, she quickly turned his stroller around and pushed him away to protect the girl from his reaction.

“It was terrible, and I was so mad at myself for the way that I handled it,” Palacio said in a 2017 interview. “For the rest of the day, I just kept thinking about all the things I wished I’d said and done.”

Palacio decided to write Wonder in hopes that it would raise awareness of the condition and inspire children and parents to be more understanding.

The film follows ten-year-old Auggie Pullman (played by Jacob Tremblay) whom has had to undergo nearly 30 surgeries, and his mother (Julia Roberts) who gave up working on her Ph.D. to care for him. Wonder begins with Auggie facing a new sort of challenge: entering fifth grade at a mainstream prep academy after being homeschooled his whole life.

Wonder, both the book and the film, received much praise for being a nuanced tear-jerker about a difficult subject.

The story’s emphasis on the value of empathy resonated with many educators, parents, and children, while the struggles of its main character have spurred a greater awareness of craniofacial conditions, which affect the formation of the skull and face.

After the novel was published, the Children’s Craniofacial Association ordered thousands of special-edition copies with its own logo to use as teaching tools.