Wonder is about a boy called Auggie, who was born with a genetic condition that causes a facial deformity. Auggie has been home-schooled by his mother, Isabel (Julia Roberts), but is about to start his first year in public school. Also supported by his father, Nate (Owen Wilson), and his older sister, Via (Isabela Vidovic), Auggie must work out how to fit in at school and battle stereotypes, discrimination and bullying.
Much to his family’s surprise, Auggie shows everyone that not only is he advanced in subjects like science, but he also has a wonderful sense of humour and a maturity well beyond his years.
Auggie’s story is shown from the point of view of important people in his life. This emphasises what life is like when you have a disability and also what it’s like for those who love and support you.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Disability; family unity; independence; overcoming fear; stereotypes; sacrifice; bullying
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
Wonder has some violence. For example:
- A child hits another child in the face.
- Some older children come across Auggie and his best friend Jack (Noah Jupe) in a forested area. When they see Auggie, they start teasing him, and then a scuffle breaks out. Jack gets pushed down, hitting his head on a rock. Auggie is left to defend himself before some other friends stop the bullies from following through with their threats.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Wonder has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example, if children are unfamiliar with Star Wars, they might find Chewbacca a bit scary even though he is shown in a friendly way.
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Wonder has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:
- There is fair amount of bullying in this movie, both by individuals and by groups of children. Children who have been bullied might find these scenes disturbing.
- The grandmother’s death is implied but not shown.
- The lovable family dog is shown looking sick. It dies, but this isn’t shown.
Younger children in this age group might also be upset by the bullying in this movie.
Nothing of concern
Wonder has some sexual references. For example, teenagers and adults kiss.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Wonder shows some substance use. For example, adults drink socially and sometimes talk about getting drunk.
Nudity and sexual activity
Nothing of concern
The following products and brands are displayed or used in Wonder:
Law and Order
- Trivial Pursuit
- New York Yankees
- Wii Consoles
- New York Mets.
Wonder has some coarse language and name-calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Wonder shows what it’s like to be a child with a physical disability trying to fit into a society where others find it hard to see past physical appearance. School can be a particularly challenging place for children like Auggie. The movie also shows what life is like for the people around Auggie – for example, his older sister Via, who often gets overlooked because of the focus on her little brother.
Wonder isn’t recommended for children under eight. Also, we recommend parental guidance for children aged 8-13 years, because of the movie’s themes and violence.
The main messages from this movie are about accepting others and looking beyond external appearances into people’s real characters.
You could talk about these messages with your children. You could also talk with them about the bullying shown in the movie.