Wonder

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” – Dr Wayne W. Dyer

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To celebrate World Kindness Day on Monday 13th November, Lionsgate decided to perform their own act of kindness and screen a preview showing of their new family drama Wonder, for free, in 300 cinemas nationwide.

I had never heard of the book or the movie Wonder – even though it stars my absolute favourite Jacob Tremblay – so when my sister messaged me to tell me she had free tickets to the cinema, I could have been signing up to watch anything, but of course I agreed- I am a poor student, someone says free and I’ll take it!

So, for anyone who was like me and hasn’t heard of the movie, let me be your personal IMBD. Wonder was adapted from R.J Palacio’s New York Times bestseller. It tells the story of August Pullman – or Auggie, as he is nicknamed in the film – a young boy born with some facial differences. Up until now, Auggie was home schooled and had never been to a mainstream school. He decides now is the time – fifth grade – he’s ready to join his peers in school. The movie Wonder tells of his extraordinary journey in starting school, dealing with bullies, making friends, losing friends and becoming the unlikely hero of his fifth-grade class.

This movie is an emotional rollercoaster, which leaves you with the warmest butterflies in your stomach. People laughed, people cried (some sobbed – not me of course…) and people left that cinema theatre feeling truly inspired. The true triumphant of the movie was how it brought people together. I have not been to a cinema screening in so long that had such a variety of people. There were mothers and young sons, fathers with young daughters, couples, sisters, brothers and everything in between.

Here’s a few things I learnt from the movie;
1. August Pullman has a facial disfigurement. It makes the first few weeks of school hell. He struggles speaking up in class, he finds it hard making friends and he wants to give up. What got me about this movie is how relatable it was. Auggie blames his facial differences for all the trouble he faces in school. He just wants to look ‘normal’. What really grasped my attention and got me so emotionally invested, was how relatable this notion is. In a world of Instagram models with the ‘perfect bodies’, and celebrities having surgery to change the way they look, don’t we all feel a bit like Auggie Pullman. Struggling to fit in and just wishing we could be like everyone else.

One of my favourite lines used in the movie drew on Dr Seuss’ famous quote, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out,” and that is absolutely what Auggie does, he stands out. I think we should all be taking a leaf from Auggie’s book. Our differences are what make up special, they are what make us who we are. Let’s start celebrating them, not trying to change them!

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2. Family – in whatever way, shape or form you define family – is the most important thing. For me my family is my mum, my dad, my brother and my sister. But family is also all of my friends, my mums friends, my aunties and uncles, everyone who surrounds me with love and support. The Pullman’s aren’t the perfect family, they have their flaws just like the rest of us. But what they do have, is a wholly unconditional love that they put in to everything they do. Being popular, having a wealth of material goods, and everything else we define ourselves by are all redundant when it comes to family. Without our family, who support us and love us for all our flaws and all our little traits that make us, us, life would be a very lonely place.

3. Finally, and in fitting with the World Kindness theme, a quote by Dr Dyer was used in the movie;
“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”
What I love about this quote, is that it is almost an oxymoron. In choosing kind, you are making the right choice. Kindness really is the most extraordinary gift we can give to anyone. And if this movie teaches you anything, it really is that kindness always wins. Smile and be kind, and the world will smile and be kind back. Everyone we meet is facing a battle that may not be as obvious as Auggie’s battle in the movie, and one smile from you may be exactly what they need.

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As you can probably tell, I fell in love with this movie, I also fell in love with Lionsgate for the World Kindness Day PR stunt which introduced me to the move. There is nothing better than a movie that inspires you to do something good! So, all that’s left to say is, stand out, cherish those who love and support you, be kind… oh and go and watch the movie!

Claire Stinton is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @clairestintonn / Instagram: @clairestinton