“Dear God, please make them be nice to him.”
Those eight words uttered by actress Julia Roberts as the mom to a disfigured boy in the movie “Wonder” brought tears to my eyes. It’s due for release in theaters next Friday, Nov. 17.
According to the movie’s Facebook page, “Wonder” is based on R.J. Palacio’s New York Times bestseller. It features the story of August Pullman, a child born with facial deformities that kept him from attending mainstream school until fifth grade. August, known as “Auggie,” bravely walks toward the building on his first day with his family watching. Eventually, Auggie’s family, classmates and community work toward unity through compassion and acceptance, proving that “you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out” and “when given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”
My daughter read the book and loved it. Seeing the movie trailers on TV, she declared that she wants to see the film version. Half paying attention to the trailers, and knowing the story’s line about a child enduring hardship, I was unsure if I could see it. Coming across the trailer on social media, stopping to actually watch it and reading more about the story, it looks like another trip to the theater with my daughter will be in the planning.
It also looks like this story could be a lesson for youngsters everywhere — be kind and accepting of others despite differences in appearance and, really, beliefs, opinions and interests. While rated PG “for thematic elements including bullying and some mild language,” according to the website imdb.com, the story could prompt a family movie night. Make it an outing for parents and children. Watch the film and then talk about its message and how it can be implemented at home, school and in the community.