Film Review | Wonderstruck

By: Elysabeth Alfano

With the same combination of eerie and poignant that Director Todd Haynes brought to his films, Carol and Far From Heaven, the characters in his most recent film, Wonderstruck, are also painfully misunderstood in their out-of- the-ordinary lives.

In 1927, a young deaf girl, Rose, beautifully shown in black and white, escapes to New York in search of her Mother. Fifty years later, a young recently-turned deaf boy, Ben, shown in vivid color, also escapes to New York to find his Father. Their journeys are juxtaposed against each other in a phenomenal bout of editing that gives the film a choreographed sense of dance and
movement. Carter Burwell’s emotive and often gut-wrenching score heightens the time-
elapsed scenes to artistic brilliance, and becomes the film’s main dialogue as much of the film is
without words.

Wonderstruck poses questions like, “Where do I belong?”, “How important is family?”, “How important is friendship?” and “Does my past determine my future?”, making it, characteristically of Haynes, not a light film. While Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams headline the film, the true stars are the young Oakes Fegley (Ben), Millicent Simmonds (Rose),
and Jaden Michael (Jamie).

My guess is that there will be several Academy nods come awards time for the beautiful film. Be sure to see Wonderstruck in theaters to get the full effect of the cinematography and music from this film about the wonder of life’s precarious and fragile states.

Elysabeth Alfano