HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Back to Berlin
Leave No Trace
They Shall Not Grow Old
Dollman
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Man Who Invented Christmas, The
Tom's Midnight Garden
Lady, Stay Dead
Thieves, The
My Dear Secretary
I Think We're Alone Now
Amazing Colossal Man, The
Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael
Suzanne
Nae Pasaran!
Kiss of the Dragon
Other Side of the Wind, The
Secret Santa
Wolcott
10.000 Km
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
Hitler's Hollywood
Ghost Goes Gear, The
First Purge, The
House of Wax
Mandy
Climax, The
Justice League Dark
Night Watchmen, The
Bandh Darwaza
   
 
Newest Articles
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
   
 
  Wonderstruck Sound StorytellingBuy this film here.
Year: 2017
Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Oakes Fegley, Julianne Moore, Millicent Simmonds, Jaden Michael, Cory Michael Smith, Tom Noonan, Michelle Williams, James Urbaniak, Damian Young, Morgan Turner, Amy Hargreaves, Sawyer Nunes, Raul Torres, Patrick Murney, Lauren Ridloff
Genre: Drama
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 1977 Minnesota, Ben (Oakes Fegley) was missing his mother, a librarian who had died in a car crash recently. To make matters worse, although he had always wondered about his father and asked her about him often, she would always put off explaining what had happened to him for another time no matter how much he pleaded, and now she is gone forever he feels adrift, living with relatives who are perfectly nice to him, understanding his trauma, but never connecting with him in the way he really needs. But what is Ben's connection to Rose (Millicent Simmonds), a girl who lived back in 1927 and was profoundly deaf? Can they connect over the decades?

Wonderstruck was originally a book by Brian Selznick, also the author of another story uncharacteristically adapted by a director who was not known for his child-friendly work with Hugo, which Martin Scorsese had tackled a few years before Todd Haynes had a try at this. The previous effort did better with audiences and critics alike, which left the production here seemingly adrift itself, yet it did pick up a following of both Haynes fans and children who didn't mind the shifting time periods and simply liked the story - perhaps they had read the source material and knew what they were in for, something many unimpressed adults would not have had the benefit of.

Haynes did make some curious artistic decisions, it had to be said, the most curious being his insistence on recreating the quality of memory with murky cinematography that made scenes difficult to pick out properly unless your eyesight was particularly keen, or you turned up the brightness on whatever device you were experiencing it on. This, too, was not going to make the project a whole lot of friends, yet it did have a point in that you concentrated more on the sounds he was adding, largely musical in the scenes with Rose which deliberately invoked the power of silent cinema, something the little girl is unsurprisingly very attached to - The Jazz Singer can't be a favourite.

Both kids are linked through their need to find a parent, and both run away from home at one point, Ben after suffering a condition where he is struck by lightning in a phone booth (!) leaving him deaf as well. If this was sounding ridiculous, it should be noted Haynes, and indeed Selznick who penned the screenplay for him, were not sticking with any grand claims to realism here, treating the past as one would a fairy tale from long ago, which the nineteen-seventies, and the nineteen-twenties for that matter, would appear to be for a child of the twenty-first century. Not quite an era of hey nonny no, court jesters or doublet and hose, but a reminder that time marches on and everything contemporary will be ancient history one day, prompting one to ponder how the movies of today will look in centuries time.

There will be so many by then that it will presumably be impossible to take in a cross section of the benchmark entertainments and works of art alike, thanks to how numerous the choices will be, but Wonderstruck wanted us to see films - and books - as gateways into the past, artefacts that can tell us about how life was lived, and something of us that has been left behind. The twin threads of Ben and Rose's journeys were tied up eventually, and in appropriately fable-like fashion which though rather pat and convenient did demonstrate a faith to the validity of telling stories, be that history or fiction we can learn history from. Julianne Moore was probably the biggest name here, playing Rose's screen idol (and more), but familiar faces like Michelle Williams, Tom Noonan and Cory Michael Smith were featured briefly if prominently, and the two kids ably shouldered the task of moving the plot along, Simmonds all the more impressive for her genuine deafness and lack of training in acting. Music by Carter Burwell, with well-chosen oldies.

[Interview featurettes are on Studio Canal's DVD, as well as deleted scenes and more.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 176 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Todd Haynes  (1961 - )

Intriguing American arthouse writer-director whose student film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story created a big fuss, and is still banned to this day. The episodic Poison was a disappointing follow up, but Safe was heralded as a triumph. His document of glam rock, Velvet Goldmine, wasn't as well received, however Far From Heaven, a 1950's-set melodrama, was Oscar-nominated, as was the similarly-set romance Carol. In between those were an offbeat take on Bob Dylan, I'm Not There, and a miniseries of Mildred Pierce. He followed them with the apparently out of character children's story Wonderstruck.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
Alexander Taylor
   

 

Last Updated: