I showed up at the cinema with a handbag full of tissues, ready to ball my eyes out at Wonder.
While I hadn't read the best-selling book on which it is based, the film's two-minute trailer had me welling up. I could only imagine what I would be like at the end of 113minutes.
Luckily, Wonder is more of a joyous affair than a tear-jerker.
The New York City-set drama tells the inspiring and heart-warming story of August "Auggie” Pullman, a fifth-grade boy with facial deformities who's attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.
Spending much of his early years in and out of hospital for surgeries, Auggie's parents (played by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) decided it was best to home school him.
Jacob Tremblay, best known for starring opposite Alison Brie in her Oscar-winning performance in Room, displays an emotional intelligence beyond his 10 years as Auggie.
The award-winning child actor manages to convey the gamut of emotion from beneath his prosthetics - no easy feat.
Understandably shy about leaving the safety of home for the first time, many of Auggie's thoughts and experiences are explained by voiceover as he bravely but quietly navigates his new world.
As Auggie knows all too well, children can be brutally honest.
Author RJ Palacio, real name Raquel Jaramillo, was inspired to write the book after her son noticed a girl with facial birth defects while they were waiting to buy ice cream. She tried to remove her son so as not to upset the girl or her family, but only made things worse.
That incident is referenced in the film in a flashback scene where classmate Jack Will's mum convinces him to give Auggie a tour of his new school.
Relinquishing the comfort and safety of his trusty astronaut helmet, which allows him to go out in public without having to endure unwanted attention, Auggie agrees to the pre-term tour led by three of his classmates.
One turns out to be the school bully, another is a Broadway-obsessed girl caught up in her own life and the third, Jack, thankfully shows Auggie some kindness.
Your heart goes out to Auggie as he endures his first day of school, which is full of awkward stares and introductions and a lonely lunch period. But soon a budding friendship with Jack is a cause for hope.
One of Wonder's greatest strengths is how it explores the challenges Auggie faces from different perspectives. As his older sister Via says, Auggie is the sun around which her family orbits.
Through Via (Izabela Vidovic) you find out what it's like to be the "normal” sibling who gets used to fending for herself as her parents focus nearly all of their time and energy on Auggie.
Missing the support of her late grandmother, teenage Via is desperate for bonding time with her mother.
There's also the story of Via's best friend, Miranda, who loses her way after her parents' divorce.
All of these sub-plots orbiting Auggie serve the film's greater message: that everyone's struggling with something and we all, ultimately, are looking for acceptance.
Wonder could have easily been too saccharine, but director Stephen Chbosky shows great restraint in sentiment.
Of course, a story like this is going to pull at your heartstrings, but at least Wonder's talented cast earn those gentle tugs.
Wonder opens in cinemas on Thursday.
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