The Wonder, a film starring Florence Pugh, transports us to Ireland in the 19th century and tells a tale that challenges both science and religion. A review by Pinkvilla is below.
The Wonder releases on Netflix on November 16
|Rating||3.5 / 5|
The Wonder follows Lib Wright, an English nurse who travels to a distant Irish hamlet, who plays Florence Pugh. The movie, which is based on Emma Donoghue’s book of the same name, is set in the 19th century and introduces us to Lib as a nurse who has been asked to investigate the mysterious illness of 11-year-old Anna O’Donnell (Kla Lord Cassidy), who hasn’t eaten in several months but still appears to be in excellent health. The infant is being watched by Lib and a nun alternately in order to learn more about her intriguing condition. Dr. McBrearty instructs Lib to provide nursing care for Anna (Tony Jones). The conflict between the spiritual and physiological approaches to comprehending Anna’s condition.
To understand more about the young girl’s intriguing condition, Lib and a nun are recruited to alternately watch over the child. Dr. McBrearty instructs Lib to tend to Anna while she is in the hospital (Tony Jones). The struggle between the spiritual and the scientific explanations of Anna’s condition presents Lib with a conundrum. It remains to be seen if Lib will learn the truth regarding Anna’s health and what will happen to the amazing girl.
The Wonder gets off to an unusual start by revealing a behind-the-scenes detail that serves as a reminder of how artificially constructed stories are. You will quickly see that, even in the absence of any technological advancements, the 19th century still had the capacity to concoct fantastical tales based on faith if you think of filmmaking itself as a mechanism intended to deceive you into believing things. The characters of Lib, a nurse who served in the war, experienced the loss of a kid, and is convinced that no miracle child can live four months without sustenance, put faith against medical science. The church is on the other side.
People want to think of Anna as a blessing and a modern saint. Given that a council of men wants to downgrade Lib’s observations and turn her into an observer rather than a nurse, it appears that both systems—science and religion—are failing the two women. On the other hand, Anna is also being let down by the church because she is led to believe that while her death might come sooner, it will only bring her salvation.
Lib (Pugh) and Anna (Kla Lord Cassidy) are brought together by the loss they have experienced at their passings. While it could have seemed that the movie would continue to the plot, which centres on figuring out why Anna survived despite not eating, it’s interesting that the movie instead turns its attention to the nurse. Although the movie is called The Wonder, this isn’t Anna’s story. Instead, it centres on Lib’s quest for the courage to keep her word and her tenacity to save Anna, even if it means using wondrous methods.
Although the screenplay occasionally appears to lack coherence, there is something alluring about the way this story is conveyed that keeps you interested the entire time. The haunting score by Matthew Herbert combined with the psychodramatic approach of lights and close-ups that actually gives you an uncomfortable feeling works for the most part. The addition of a scene involving Kitty (Niamh Algar), in which she breaks the fourth wall and reminds us of the note on which the film began, creates some uncertainty, but it just acts as a narrative device to keep the audience’s interest.
In terms of the performances, Florence Pugh’s portrayal of Lib paints a hauntingly beautiful picture of a mother coping with the death of her child, trying to survive in a foreign land while feeling sadness and loneliness, and the empathic link she begins to establish with Anna while working as her nurse. Pugh masterfully conjures even in the voids. As Anna, Kla Lord Cassidy also does a fantastic job. After starting to confide in Pugh’s Lib in the second act, Cassidy shines especially brightly. Tony Jones and Tom Burke, who plays a journalist, both give strong performances in the supporting roles.
The directing of Sebastián Lelio has a significant impact as he transports us to a post-famine Ireland in the nineteenth century. The eerie atmosphere of the movie is especially effective as you peel back the layers of the narrative, which may start out as a straightforward inquiry about Anna’s survival but eventually delves into darker themes that make social commentary on the timeline and the age-old struggle between spiritual and scientific ideals. Together, the performers and the music create a narrative that is compelling enough for the ideal runtime.
Even though The Wonder has a lot of layers to reveal, several issues remain unresolved. Additionally, if you’re hoping for a plot that spells everything out for you, this can be a challenging film to watch because it leaves hints and traces rather than doing so.
- Florence Pugh’s stellar performance
- Matthew Herbert’s haunting score
- Sebastián Lelio unhurried direction
As you watch The Wonder, you’ll be forced to reflect on your life. The movie features excellent acting along with an engaging plot that will have you watching until the very end.