Florence Pugh has confirmed she will be able to dominate the display regardless of the energy of the movie behind her. Earlier this yr, she starred in Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling and carried that movie via sheer power of will. In The Wonder, directed by Sebastián Lelio (Gloria Bell, A Fantastic Woman), Pugh does one thing related whereas having way more to work with. The Wonder might buckle beneath lofty concepts the movie appears reticent to discover with the spiritual fervor its topic would name for, however it’s a stunning and haunting movie because of the impeccable behind-the-scenes expertise and Pugh’s magnetism. Still, The Wonder will go away many wanting extra in the case of what lurks beneath its fascinating story.
Pugh performs Lib Wright, an English nurse referred to as to a distant Irish village to look at over Anna O’Donnell (Kila Lord Cassidy), a younger woman who has not eaten something since her eleventh birthday however remains to be miraculously alive. In eight-hour shifts, Lib and one different lady, a nun named Sister Michael (Josie Walker), are to look at Anna and report their findings to an area council on the finish of a two-week interval. Lib is of course skeptical, looking each criminal and crevice within the O’Donnell residence for hidden meals. The much less scientifically inclined members of the village consider they’re witnessing a miracle and Lib turns into hellbent on proving them fallacious as journalists, believers, and non-believers descend on the village.
The Wonder is an eerie movie, and Matthew Herbert’s rating evokes an unnerving chill as Ari Wegner’s digital camera glides over a lush however sparse Irish panorama. Wegner (whose current work contains The Power of the Dog, an equally haunting movie) has the digital camera floating out and in of village houses and over the windswept tundra, appearing as a ghost itself, an unseen miracle siding with Lib and her dedication to root out the O’Donnell household’s potential fraud.
The script, which is tailored by Emma Donoghue from her personal 2016 novel, rightly stays with Lib’s perspective as she battles a traumatic previous and a village that might moderately her not be there in any respect. The English nurse is confronted with all kinds of pushback whereas attempting to do her job, a troublesome prospect for anybody, not to mention a girl being overseen by a council of males who don’t belief her, no matter whether or not they’re males of religion or science. The harsh panorama solely serves to compound these points, as does the nun additionally despatched to look at over Anna. Lib is to not confer along with her to verify their findings are unbiased, however there’s a coldness to Sister Michael and Walker’s staunch efficiency that provides to the unsettling nature of the duty at hand.
Unfortunately, The Wonder isn’t all too on this process, overlooking the battle between religion and truth for extra interpersonal pursuits in addition to a romantic subplot that might really feel pointless save for its usefulness in The Wonder’s ending. It’s an ending that feels extra like a deus ex machina than an earned growth, however as soon as once more, Pugh is the movie’s saving grace, as is a scene of Lib confronting the council along with her findings.