Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

No need to wonder about the power of this movie December 14, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:01 AM
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IF EVER THERE’S a current movie everyone should see, it’s “Wonder.”

And for me to state that is noteworthy. “Wonder” is the first movie I’ve viewed in a theater since 2011. Yes, I really have not been inside a cinema since I last saw “The Help,” another memorable movie, six years ago. Most movies don’t interest me. Too much violence and genres that don’t appeal to me. I prefer movies with a message, with a purpose other than to simply entertain and with content that moves me.

“Wonder” fits those criteria.

Based on the New York Times bestselling book by R. J. Palacio, “Wonder” tells the story of 10-year-old Auggie Pullman, born with facial deformities and entering school for the first time after being homeschooled. As you would expect, Auggie faces incredible challenges, including bullying.

This film shows the real-life psychological harm of peer pressure and bullying to individuals and to families and then presents multiple ways people address it. And not always in good ways, just like in real life.

“Wonder” should be required viewing for every child, teen and adult. The book was assigned reading at my eighth grade great nephew’s Minnesota school, followed by a class field trip to see the movie. I applaud educators like those in Tristan’s school who realize the value in this film as a teaching tool and as an opportunity to open up conversations on differences, bullying, peer pressure, kindness, compassion and more.

As a survivor of junior high school bullying and even bullying as an adult, I understand this issue all too well. I refuse to tolerate bullying (and abuse) on any level. “Wonder” champions strength to rise and to overcome, making it one powerful movie.

 

FYI: If you haven’t read about the recent bullying of a young boy in a Tennessee school, then click here and read Keaton’s story. It breaks my heart. Decades ago, this was me. Crying. Suffering. Unable to stop the bullying. I was not bullied in the same ways as Keaton. But the bullying I experienced in junior high school hurt me. Deeply. Just like Keaton. This behavior needs to stop.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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12 Responses to “No need to wonder about the power of this movie”

  1. –I’ve read this book twice to our classes & I loooove it soooooooooo much.

    I also have the book of quotes.

    “Everybody, at least once in their lives, deserves a standing ovation!”

    My fave. quote from book.

    XXXXX kisses from Duluth.

  2. Valerie Says:

    We are planning to go see this movie on Sunday. Looking forward to it.

    • I’m quite certain you will like it. Are you going to the new theatre in Dundas? Or isn’t it there yet? We went to the Owatonna theatre, which is being updated with reclining leather seats. I couldn’t believe how much movie-going has changed in the years since I last went to the theatre such as the comfy seats and choosing your spot before entering the theatre.

  3. Kiandra Judge Says:

    First I want to say how sorry I am that you have been bullied! It’s not ok! I was teased (by a teacher) for my stutter in high school. Still a vivid memory.
    I’m so impressed that your great nephew’s class read and went to see the movie Wonder. I’m in the middle of reading it now and it should be a requirement for everyone! Adults, kids.. everyone. What an incredible story! I’m so glad that people are more aware of what’s happening with bullying and I hope that it can JUST STOP. I will be reading this book to my son and I can’t wait to see the movie.

    • Thank you, Kiandra. It’s unthinkable that a teacher would bully you. But I’m not surprised. I also witnessed, and experienced, bullying by a teacher (in junior high). You’re right. It’s not OK. Teachers of all people should know better. Like you, I still feel the impact of that bullying by that teacher and by those classmates all these decades later. But, like you, I will not tolerate bullying.

      Kudos to you for reading this book to your son and for taking a strong stand against bullying.

  4. Susan Ready Says:

    It’s on my list heard so many good things about this movie. Nice review and its a breath of fresh air to view this holiday season

  5. I’ve seen the previews for this movie and I’d like to watch it when it comes out on TV


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