The Wonder

The Wonder (Sebastian Lelio, 2022) dp Ari Wegner; Florence Pugh, Tom Burke, Kila Lord Cassidy

I don't know why Florence Pugh's gets such well-paid work. She's not a very good actress. I think it's because she's plain and film-makers feel sorry for her.
She's a 21st century woman who is incapable, despite any number of cossies, of behaving like someone living in an earlier period. For me, she ruined Little Women (Greta Gerwig, 2019) for that reason. She was nommed for an Oscar for BSA for it, and I think it was because she stood out for the wrong reason - for anachronism.
In this film she goes about the business of investigation as she would in a police procedural TV drama series set in 2022. And it's a pity, because the other actors do well, especially the little girl with the silly name (Lord Cassidy lol). Except for Toby Jones: I found him implausible in much the same way as Pugh.
The metafilmic aspects that Luke Buckmaster discusses are, I think, irrelevant, and a bit distracting if anything, and the director just threw them in because he's a smartarse, and because he could.
Ari Wegner's cinematography is excellent.

Mark Kermode wants you to know he's seen a lot of esoteric films you haven't even heard of:
Which story the audience takes from The Wonder is very much up to them. Personally, I saw echoes of Hans-Christian Schmid’s Requiem, Jessica Hausner’s Lourdes and Dietrich Brüggemann’s Stations of the Cross – films in which religious beliefs have profoundly physical consequences. Others will see the ghost of the Irish famine reflected in Anna’s starvational plight, an element amplified by Will’s horrific backstory. Perhaps eating disorders and child abuse are the real heart of the matter. Either way, few will remain unmoved by this intriguingly adventurous and thought-provoking drama. The Guardian.

Prabhjot Bains thinks the film a 'gorgeous bore' ...
... a textbook case of a bold vision and a botched execution. It’s full of mesmerizing components, both visual and sonic, but fails to generate a coherent link between them. There are great ideas here that rap on the door, but they are not given the force to burst it open, creating an experience that utterly drags amidst its spurts of technical skill. It’s a gorgeous bore that is ultimately just as vapid as the beautiful empty landscapes it revels in.
Bookended by muddled fourth wall breaks—which in the grand scheme are only a tacked-on narrative device ... tilt.

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 25 November, 2022 | Now: 25 November, 2022