Wonder-Two Hours of Pure Sunshine

*Stay tuned!! This article is a segue into broadening this blog!!!

The critically acclaimed 2017 movie tells the story of August (Auggie) Pullman, a fifth grader with some unique physical challenges. The lovely thing about this movie is that the physical issues are only a catalyst for much larger social issues as he begins his first year in public school. Julia Roberts portrays his mother with a stunning blend of grace and grit, striving to pursue her own artistic dreams amidst the newfound free time. Izabela Vidovic adds a poignant humility to Auggie’s older, oft-ignored sister Olivia. But the breakout star besides Vidovic is Daveed Diggs (apparently of Hamilton fame) as Mr. Browne, the perceptive and compassionate teacher. Overall (and here comes the segue part), as a human with some unique physical challenges, I greatly enjoyed the joy and humor that set the tone of the movie and showed that humans are more than appearances or limitations. Auggie enjoys Minecraft, Star Wars, and family, he has friendship issues, and he remains optimistic and curious about life. 10/10 for unique characters, uplifting tone, and ability to relate. I recommend this for ages 8 and up, anyone looking for a feel-good family movie, particularly families in unique situations.

As this blog progresses, I’ll begin writing some personal essays, sharing some of my unique story. Stay tuned!

The Great Gatsby-One Man’s Mirage

*Note: Because the movie follows the book so closely, this will be a combo review. Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel is a true masterpiece. It follows the novel to the letter, each scene drenched in the saturated color Luhrmann is known for. DiCaprio brilliantly captures the fear, denial, and delusional certainty behind the title character’s facade of easygoing luxury and friendly bribery. Carey Mulligan gives an irritatingly ethereal essence to the golden girl Daisy Buchanan, which nicely complements Joel Edgerton’s rough and rude demeanor as her husband Tom. Toby Maguire looks somewhat like a shrew, but this adds to his portrayal of Nick Carraway’s nervous excitement and displacement in the glamorous high society of 1920s New York City.  The Wilsons follow their literary counterparts well. Isla Fisher gives Myrtle the smolder and fire the book demands and Jason Clark as George Wilson hides behind her shadow while he can. Gatsby and Daisy definitely have chemistry but it’s built only on dreams and memories. Overall 10/10 for amazing set and costume, the fact that the characters and plot are authentic to the source material, and picking Leonardo DiCaprio for the lead. Watch it, especially if you like the original novel.

Moana-Follow Your Destiny

So I finally joined the bandwagon and watched the movie. The grandma is hilarious and wise. Maui is a hilarious, complex, heartfelt character. Moana’s relationship with her grandmother brings some tears to my eyes, as I had a similar special connection with my own grandmother. The magical scene with the spirits of her grandmother and other voyagers was beautiful. The unexpected reveal about the villian raises thoughtful questions about how circumstances change someone. I admire the movie for giving Moana a position of power, while keeping her realistic and naive. She was also unburdened by unnecessary relationships, and I admire that. Overall, a quality movie that shows a young admirable role model. 10/10 for likable characters, an actually unexpected twist, and a killer score. I just regret waiting so long.