Wonderstruck – A Shining Gem in the Cinematic “Cabinet of Wonders”

 

 

The story of a young boy in the Midwest is told simultaneously with a tale about a young girl in New York from fifty years ago as they both seek the same mysterious connection. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Clayton P. comments, “Wonderstruck is a shining gem in the cinematic “cabinet of wonders”… I love this film because it combines the artistic style of old black and white silent films with the more modern color palette of today’s films.” Dariana A. adds, “Wonderstruck is such an amazing and inspiring movie. It has a great plot that is very inspiring to all kids. In the beginning, the story takes a while to develop so it’s a little slow. Once you get to the climax, there is never a dull moment.” See their full reviews below.

 

Wonderstruck

By Clayton P., KIDS FIRST Reporter, age 18

https://youtu.be/WdhABVxFaR0

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Wonderstruck is a shining gem in the cinematic “cabinet of wonders.” The film is adapted from the book Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, the same author who wrote Hugo Cabret. Directed by Todd Haynes and written by Brian Selznick, the film envelopes you in its beautifully detailed vision of old New York. The movie stars Oakes Fegley, Julianne Moore and Michele Williams. I love this film because it combines the artistic style of old black and white silent films with the more modern color palette of today’s films.

 

Wonderstruck tells two similar stories that have a connection. One story concerns a twelve-year-old boy, Ben, in the 1970s, who, after losing his Mom, decides to run away and look for his father in the big city. Recently losing his hearing from a lightning strike, he must deal with his disability without knowing sign language. Luckily, when he arrives in NYC he makes a friend, Jamie, who takes him to the American Museum of Natural History. The other story follows a young girl, Rose, in the late 1920s. It is portrayed as a silent black and white film, as befits the time period. Rose is born deaf and never learned sign language or how to properly talk, but she is talented at creating artworks with paper.  She is depicted as a very shy, quiet type, but loves visiting her brother who works at the Museum of Natural History.wonders.3.jpg

 

This film reminds me of Hugo and The Night at the Museum because of the attention to historical detail and the wonder inherent in the natural world. I also enjoyed how it keeps changing from a silent, black and white film to a talky, color film. It gives you the best of both worlds –  old style filmmaking and more modern. Each time the film shifts time periods, the music changes as well. The film revels in many different textures, such as the gritty reality of NYC in the 1970s, all the old curiosities in the Museum of Natural History and even the paper cityscapes that Rose creates. The crux of the film is the director’s fascination with the old “cabinet of wonders” and how it is the precursor to the modern museum. This film itself is a “cabinet of wonders,” revealing many treasures in its depths. My favorite scene is when Ben and Jamie explore the secret rooms in the Museum of Natural History.

 

Before Wonderstruck, I was not familiar with the director, Todd Haynes.  Until now he has created mostly sophisticated, art house, independent films.  This film can be considered a fascinating, art house, family film. I give Wonderstruck  4 out of 5 stars for its creative way it combines two different artistic styles. I recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It opens October 20, 2017 in select theaters nationwide so look for it.

 

Wonderstruck

By Dariana A., KIDS FIRST Film Critics, age 11

https://youtu.be/Jyi-scuuTbA

 

Wonderstruck is such an amazing and inspiring movie. It has a great plot that is very inspiring to all kids. In the beginning, the story takes a while to develop so it’s a little slow. Once you get to the climax, there is never a dull moment.  If you stick around, it’s an awesome movie! It also is a little hard for kids to understand, but if you are over 10, you should be able to follow it.

 

Wonderstruck is a story about a boy named Ben who gets in accident in 1977 which causes him to become deaf and inspires him to run away in search of his father. This story intertwines with another, set in 1927, about Rose, a young deaf girl who runs away looking for a mysterious woman whose scrapbook she has. As the story progresses, we find out more about how their stories really are alike.

 

One of the many stunning things about Wonderstruck is the cinematography. The way they change from a silent film (Rose’s story set in 1927) to a movie that is set in a future time (Ben’s story set in 1977) is seamless. All the actors bring so much to the characters they play,  especially Oakes Fegley (Ben) and MIllicent Simmonds (Young Rose) who are child actors and perform beautifully. Another marvelous thing about this movie is that it really gives you a look into what it’s like to be deaf. Rose’s story is a silent film, so you have to read people’s facial expressions to know what they are trying to say. During Ben’s time, there are moments where you can hear what Ben hears, which is almost nothing except for very faint sounds. Wonderstruck really gives you a glimpse into deaf people’s lives and you learn to relate to them through the filmed story.

 

My favorite character is Jamie (Jaden Michael) because he is Ben’s friend throughout the whole movie and that is his whole purpose –  to be there for Ben. My favorite scene is at the end when Ben is standing on the rooftop of a museum with Jamie and another person (I won’t say who because that’s a spoiler) and they are watching fireworks in the Queens’ skyline. I love it because of its beautiful cinematography.

 

The message of this film is that you may not always find what you’re looking for, but what you do find, might be better. This is a really fortune cookie message, but it’s the message I got because both Rose and Ben don’t find exactly what they are looking for, but still find something great. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars because it has stunning cinematography, star power, great acting and gives you a peek into what it’s like to be deaf. I would give it an extra .5 if the beginning wasn’t so slow. I recommend this film for ages 10 to 18.  It opens in theaters nationwide October 20, 2017 so be sure to check it out.