Is it worth your time to watch The Wonder, a brand-new intriguing thriller from Netflix?
The Wonder, set in the Irish Midlands in 1862, follows English nurse Lib Wright (Florence Pugh), who is sent to a small town to examine child Anna O’Donnell (Kila Lord Cassidy), who is allegedly malnourished after becoming 11 months old. Nurse Wright must determine whether this town is hiding a new saint or whether they are hiding the unholy truth while she miraculously remains alive and well.
Along with Pugh and Cassidy, the film also stars Kila Lord Cassidy’s real-life mother, Elaine Cassidy as Anna’s mother, Rosaleen O’Donnell, Mank’s Tom Burke as journalist Will Byrne, Captain America’s Toby Jones as Dr. McBrearty, Belfast’s Ciaran Hinds as Father Thaddeus, Doubt’s Brian F. O’Byrne as John Flynn, and Belfast’
The movie, based on Emma Donahue’s book of the same name, reunites writers Alice Birch and star Florence Pugh after they collaborated on the BAFTA-nominated Lady Macbeth in 2017.
The central conflict between science and faith drives Sebastian Lelio’s detailed and compelling drama.
The priest, the pious family, and the “miracle” infant were on the other side from the nurse, the journalist, and the decaying child. Belief versus Skepticism. The plot unfolds like many investigative crime dramas, questioning the evidence until the absolute truth is revealed, despite having a medical expert at its center. However, the facts can be twisted, and the truth is not always appreciated.
The value of tales, especially the ones we tell ourselves, is emphasized right away in the film’s opening scenes. Every tormented character has subtly changed their realities to meet their circumstances. To cope with the loss of their child and the sadness and embarrassment of her husband’s leaving, Nurse Lib pretends to be a widow and uses drugs.
Anna’s family uses piety and devotion to mask their sinister activities and justifications.
The guys on the committee established to access Anna’s presents cover their biases with the pretext of following the law. To seem like an interested outsider unfazed by the notion of a saint residing among them, the journalist Will conceals the tragic death of his entire family during the famine and their ties to Anna’s town.
Everyone is peddling a narrative and aspires to be somebody or something else. It makes sense that the movie would end with a fresh start for those of us still here and a new story to tell.
Lelio’s puzzle box has an eerie, compelling tone and great, visceral performances. The unflinching Kila Lord Cassidy portrays Anna as someone who is forced to be religious, at odds with her beliefs, and tormented by her family’s lies and deceptions.
Her cool demeanor, cold gaze, and breathy prayer recitations give her improbable situation a sense of plausibility. Of course, Florence Pugh’s gravity is essential to the film’s success. She serves as the emotional barometer for the entire movie.
Her initially chilly and calculated demeanor in the movie helps to establish the tone for the more adventurous actions. Still, it gradually softens as the plot moves toward a more nervous and frantic finish. Even the movie’s music takes on a character of its own in many ways, as its gloomy presence and foreboding presence, especially in our first contact with Anna, creates a spooky atmosphere to go along with the mystery and doubt surrounding religious miracles.
The usage of totally unneeded fourth wall cracks that attempt to support the confidence in its narrative is the movie’s one big problem. While I know these interruptions are necessary, they pulled me away from the movie at key moments, almost ruining my enjoyment. I felt compelled to turn the movie off as it begins with a fourth wall break. As you can probably guess, I’m glad I persisted with the movie, but I wish Lelio had skipped these interruptions to create a more cohesive and successful whole.
Overall, The Wonder successfully surpasses the significant obstacle of its pointless narrations to create one of the best Netflix Originals of the year.
The movie becomes a suspenseful but delightful tale on the dangers of blind trust and the use of stories to conceal our true selves and, potentially, our darkest secrets as the layers of ambiguity and mysticism are gradually peeled back. I would advise folks to ignore the controversy surrounding Don’t Worry Darling and take in Florence Pugh’s rising prominence in an understated yet powerful performance that demonstrates her range.