Director: Stephen Chbosky
Producers: David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman
Writers: Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad, and Stephen Chbosky
Cinematography: Don Burgess
Composers: Marcelo Zarvos and Bea Miller
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Run-time: 113 minutes
FILM SYNOPSIS: Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman has been home-schooled throughout his life because of the multiple surgeries he has had to correct his facial differences. Auggie is nervous about attending a mainstream school for fifth grade, but as the year progresses, his family’s support helps him endure the challenges posed by bullying, peer pressure and making friends.
Truth be told, originally I had no desire to see this film, which is based off a young adult novel about a young boy with facial differences entering elementary school. Then it got nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling over films like “The Shape Of Water” and “I, Tonya” and I was a little resentful. Soon after that, I found out that Stephen Chbosky, author and director of the film adaptation of “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” was the director behind “Wonder” and I started to feel more confident in seeing the film, as I am a huge fan of his book and the film made from it. Upon seeing the film, I’m glad its nomination got me to watch it. It definitely deserves the nomination, seeing as the prosthetic makeup is integral in transforming the talented young Jacob Tremblay into the character Auggie Pullman from the book. Go too far with the makeup, and you’ll turn people off, don’t go far enough, and people might not buy the drama surrounding it. But the makeup team finds a nice balance.
Will “Wonder” overcome the transformation done with prosthetic makeup and a fat suit in “Darkest Hour,” turning Gary Oldman into the iconic Winston Churchill? It seems unlikely. Not only is “Darkest Hour” the odds-on favorite, but it also has a coinciding Best Picture nomination and not that it means a definitive win is promised with every Best Picture nominee in other categories, it can essentially be a nice tie breaker when things get close. If the Academy loved “Darkest Hour” enough to make it a Best Picture nominee, there had to be certain things about the film that got it there. For one, I feel like Gary Oldman will win the Oscar for his performance, but one of the biggest components of the performance is that transformation. If you weren’t forgetting you were watching Oldman and could see right through the makeup, the illusion would be broken. To me, that’s a much bigger deal in a film like “Darkest Hour” where the audience needs to believe we’re seeing Winston Churchill. Everything has to be a little more spot on in this particular case than say in “Wonder” where, even though the makeup needed to be right, there was still some wiggle room. “Wonder” isn’t portraying characters we’ve actually seen from history before. It’s bringing characters to life. Some might say that creating something new is even more difficult than copying the look of a preexisting character but being spot-on with bringing that figure back to life, I feel is much more impressive.
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