Wonderstruck is a truly beautiful film that is based on the imaginative and well crafted novel by Brian Selznick who also created the wonderful “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”. If you’re not familiar with the book, it tells the story through words (Ben’s story) and very detailed and incredible illustrations in place of words (Rose’s story). It’s got so many layers of imagery and meaning that it will have you thinking about the movie for long after you see it!
Ben and Rose are children born 50 years apart in different parts of the country and circumstances but their lives become interwined after a series of events that bond them in ways that you can never imagine. They are longing for something that seems just beyond their reach and their search for answers results in journeys for both children. Ben (Oakes Fegley) lives in Gunflint, Michigan in 1977 and spends his time looking at stars and space and collecting rocks and various other treasures. He tragically loses his loving and winsome mother (Michelle Williams) in a car accident. He’s living with his aunt now but he’s longing to find the father that his mother would never tell him about and he’s having recurring nightmares about wolves. After a freak accident causes Ben to lose his hearing, he sets off on a bus for New York to find his father with the one clue that he has – an address for a bookstore. Rose (Millicent Simmonds) is growing up deaf hidden away in a wealthy home in Hoboken, New York in 1927 with an emotionally abusive father. She sad and lonely and fills her isolated days with her own star, a silent film idol (Julianne Moore), watching her silent movies and filling a scrapbook with her image and building paper models of New York City. Life is pretty bleak for Rose until she sees that her idol is appearing on the stage in New York City and decides to run away to the big city to find her idol. Ben and Rose’s lives intersect in the wonderful American Museum of Natural History and the connection will blow your mind.
There are many great scenes but my favorite by far is the moment in the movie theater when Rose is watching her idol Lillian Mayhew in a silent film. To watch Rose’s face as she gazes at her idol’s performance on the silent screen is one of the most pure moments in a film that I’ve ever seen. Rose relates to the actress acting out her anguish without words but only through her face, eyes, and broad gestures. Rose is mesmerized by the actress’ performance and she feels that she’s looking at her own anguish in the film.
The performances are all wonderful but Millicent Simmonds who plays Rose is the real wonder of this movie and is truly amazing to watch. Millicent is actually deaf herself and she gives an incredible performance. Her character doesn’t speak throughout the movie but the array of emotions that play on her face gives you the idea of what deafness feels and looks like. Her face is a reflection of the experiences that she having and it is so expressive that she makes us realize that you can actually listen with your eyes.
Go see it and take your older kids (it’s PG) you will both love the artistry of the film and the message that it has for all of us. I love the famous Oscar Wilde quote that is highlighted in the beginning of the story. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Opening Date for Dallas/Fort Worth is October 27, 2017:
Angelika Mockingbird Dallas and Plano, AMC Northpark
Additional playdates opening November 3 – Look Cinema 11 Dallas, Tinseltown 17 Grapevine, Legacy 24 Plano, Southlake Town Square 14,
Additional playdates opening November 10 – AMC Parks at Arlington, Ridgmar 13 Ft. Worth
For more information about the film go to:
For more information about the book go to: