Australian Council on Children and the Media

Wonder

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Not recommended under 8, parental guidance recommended for 8 to 13 year-olds, due to themes and scenes of bullying

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Wonder
  • a review of Wonder completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 5 December 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to themes and scenes of bullying
Children aged 8 to 13 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and scenes of bullying
Children 13 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Wonder
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and coarse language
Length 113 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

A young boy named Auggie, born with a genetic condition which causes a facial deformity, comes to terms with leaving his mother (Julia Roberts) Isabel’s  home schooling to start his first year in public school. Also supported by his father, Nate (Owen Wilson) and his gracious older sister, Via (Isabela Vidovic), Auggie attempts to navigate the social dynamics of fitting in at school and battling typical stereotypes, discrimination and bullying.

Much to their surprise, Auggie shows everyone that not only is he advanced in subjects such as science, but also has a wonderful sense of humour and a maturity well beyond his years. Auggie’s story deepens in development when it is shown from the point of view of other important figures in his life – emphasising the meaning of what life is like living with a disability and what it’s like for those closely associated with disabled people.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Disability; family unity; independence; overcoming fear; stereotypes; sacrifice; bullying

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • A child hits another child in the face.
  • Some older children stumble upon Auggie and his best friend Jack (Noah Jupe) in a forested area. When they see Auggie, they start teasing him and a scuffle breaks out. Jack gets pushed down, hitting his head on a rock. Auggie is left to defend himself before friends stop the older bullies from following through with their threats.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Some children unfamiliar with Star Wars may find seeing Chewbacca a bit scary even though he is portrayed in a friendly manner.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

  • There is fair amount of bullying in this movie – both by individuals and by groups of children. Children who have been bullied may find these scenes disturbing
  • The death of the grandmother is implied (not shown)
  • The lovable family dog is shown looking sick and dies (not shown).

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also find the bullying upsetting

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern for this age group

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Star Wars
  • Minecraft
  • Law and Order
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • New York Yankees
  • Wii Consoles
  • Starbucks
  • Xbox
  • The New York Mets

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Teenagers and adults kiss.

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

  • Social drinking,  and talk of getting drunk, by adults

Coarse language

There is some coarse language and name-calling in this movie, including:

  • “butt”; “jerk”; “freaks”

In a nutshell

Wonder shows what it’s like to be a child with a physical disability attempting to integrate into a society where others find it difficult to see past physical appearance into what is a genuinely beautiful person. School can be a particularly challenging place for such children. The movie also shows what life is like for others around Auggie (for example, his older sister Via – who often gets overlooked due to the focus on her little brother).  

The film is not recommended for children under eight and parental guidance is recommended for children aged eight to 13, due to themes and scenes of bullying.

The main messages from this movie are about acceptance and looking beyond the obvious and external into people’s real characters.

Apart from this obvious message, parents may also wish to discuss the bullying shown in the film.

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