Wonderstruck (2017)
June 17, 2018 3:15 PM - Subscribe

In this new Amazon Original Film from director Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, Velvet Goldmine) Ben and Rose are children from two different eras who wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he never knew, while Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both set out on quests that unfold with mesmerizing symmetry. Screenplay by Brian Selznick (Hugo).
posted by DirtyOldTown (4 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was surprised that this wasn't reviewed all that highly because I loved it. It was not what I expected it to be. Yeah, it was a kids' movie, more or less, but it also had such beauty and heart. It was so artfully done and really seemed to trust the audience to just go wherever it was going. I just completely bought into where it wanted me to go and it felt magical to me.
posted by darksong at 9:44 AM on June 18, 2018

My kid really liked this and we enjoyed it as well. Haynes did his normal riffing on a style/era thing, this time using the kids' hearing impairment as a window into silent film techniques and indulging in some 70s NYC nostalgia as well. But it went beyond that, as even the plot was heart-tuggingly melodramatic and rife with hold-the-phone coincidences in a way that evoked the silent era as well as 70s era family films.

As the movie settled in (around the time Ben met Jamie and Rose linked up with her brother Walter), Haynes seemed to get more invested emotionally himself and the result was really engrossing.

This is the kind of aimed-at-kid-level melodrama you don't often see anymore, one that is devoid of fantasy/sci-fi elements and scatalogical humor, one that focuses on real issues that can affect a kid: death, divorce, longing for connection. This is not the kind of "kid's film" that gets that title by staking out a small section of the experience of childhood (sports, popularity, first love) but rather, it's one that isn't afraid to take on more serious matters, while still looking at them from kid's eye level.

The melodramatic elements will not wear well with cynical viewers, but if you enjoyed Hugo or--maybe an even better barometer--August Rush, your family will probably enjoy this one as well.

If you're trying to remember where you've seen these kids before, Millicent Simmonds (Rose) was in A Quiet Place, Jaden Michael (Jamie) was in The Get Down, and Oakes Fegley (Ben) was the kid in the recent remake of Pete's Dragon, though in our house he is also fondly recalled as the human avatar/connection point for Samaritan, the malignant AI in Person of Interest.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:45 AM on June 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also, I really hope I'm not the only person in the world who really wanted, upon the credits rolling to hear Brian Johnson singing "You've been... WONDERSTRUCK!"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:23 PM on June 18, 2018

This is one of my favorite middle grade books and I feel like the movie totally got lost coverage-wise, so although I haven't seen it yet I'm glad to hear people liked it. They hired I think an unprecedented amount of Deaf actors for it, even as extras, which is refreshing as hell since for every time that's done there's a billion times it's not.
posted by colorblock sock at 6:48 PM on June 19, 2018

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