The Wonder

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Anna O’Donnell (Kíla Lord Cassidy) is an 11-year-old girl in rural Ireland who has allegedly been fasting for four months. She appears perfectly healthy and contends that she survives on “manna from heaven.” The devout townspeople hail it as a miracle, but skepticism arises. Local authorities call upon Elizabeth “Lib” Wright (Florence Pugh). She is an English nurse tasked to simply observe the child to test the veracity of these claims. As a woman of science, she is skeptical. Meanwhile, the all-male town council, which includes the town doctor (Toby Jones) and a priest (Ciarán Hinds), believes in divine intervention. Their disdain for Lib and her opinion is increasingly evident.

I don’t know who the audience is for this film. Believers who want to see a drama that affirms religion and faith will be disappointed because it’s not uplifting. However, it also fails as an exposé on how the desires of a little girl, her parents, and the Catholic Church intertwine. The developments are so deliberate and gradual that it tests the viewer’s patience. The more we learn, the less interesting the narrative becomes. The austerity of the surroundings effectively creates a sinister atmosphere. I’ll concede that. It’s a depressing mood piece but not much else.

The Wonder is a slow, methodical characterization of two people. Director Sebastián Lelio (Gloria, A Fantastic Woman) has achieved critical success with his cinematic portraits of women. Lib, the nurse, is an empathetic person. Anna persists as an enigma. Her behavior will give someone pause. Is she the real deal? The two personalities compel the viewer to keep watching to find out. However, the lethargic pace is plodding, and the resolution is unremarkable. The screenplay is based on the 2016 book of the same name by Emma Donoghue. The author also penned the novel Room, which she adapted into the Oscar-winning movie starring Brie Larson. I “wonder” if Donoghue considers her previous adaptation to be vastly superior…because I do.

11-16-22

2 Responses to “The Wonder”

  1. I agree with you. I looked at the ending slightly more positive. But I agree, not a satisfying story. 2 1/2 ⭐️

    Liked by 1 person

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