Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Wonderstuck leans to the tastes of a more seasoned Cinephile who has a long-standing relationship with acclaimed Filmmaker Todd Haynes.
The Film jumps between 1927 and 1977. In the former, Rose (Millicent Simmonds) who is deaf, wants to explore New York City while escaping her overbearing parents. In the latter, Ben (Oakes Fegley) stumbles across a book sharing named Wonderstruck with a bookmark in it leading him on an adventure to find his father following his mother’s (Michelle Williams) passing. As the Movie progresses, these stories intertwine with one another, cluminating in a powerful ending.
The two lead child actors in Wonderstruck are absolutely exceptional, not to discount the supporting cast. Millicent Simmonds who actually is hearing-impaired in real life, truly breathes life into every scene even without albeit sound, a score, or spoken word much of the time. She has a powerful screen presence. Oakes Fegley also does an incredible job his Ben becoming deaf after his mother’s passing, trying to cope with the world now that he cannot communicate the way he used to. We feel his struggle learning to deal with a new lifestyle while on a journey to finding his father. Moreover, Julianne Moore who plays Lillian Mayhew Rose’s mother in the Film, does great work playing a silent film star back in 1927.
Wonderstruck suffers in pacing between its first and partial Second Act with jarring time shifts, but any shortcomings are compensated for with powerful performances from its strong young stars. While the journey may be a little long, the message and heart of a powerful Third Act are rewarding.
Elevation Pictures release WONDERSTRUCK in theatres on Friday, October 27, 2017.