Sebastián Lelio’s The Wonder follows a young English nurse (Florence Pugh) who is sent to Ireland to observe a child who hasn’t eaten for months.
A dark and slow moving period piece with breathtaking cinematography and a haunting score, The Wonder is a thought provoking narrative that explores the psychological battle between science and faith, the societal tensions between England and Ireland, and the importance of storytelling.
The screenplay is strong and very effective, revealing the dangers of faith and the lengths one is willing to go to, to do “right” by their beliefs. I particularly enjoyed the The Wonder’s distinctive bookends, especially from a filming standpoint.
However, the narrative’s slow pacing may turn off some viewers. It is a little reminiscent of Power of the Dog’s slow burn, peeling layer by layer back to reveal the mystery. But the pay off is worth it and blesses us with another excellent performance by Florence Pugh to add to her glowing résumé. Pugh’s sincere and layered performance kept me completely captivated.
It is without a doubt that Pugh is one of grandest actors of our time, however, these smaller-scaled, raw yet nuanced performances are what truly blow me away. The way she convey an array of emotions with the littlest glimmer in her eye continues to make my jaw drop.
Pugh’s stellar performance is complimented by newcomer, Kila Lord Cassidy. Cassidy’s performance is quiet yet powerful and very impressive from such a young performer.
The Wonder won’t be for everyone, but you cannot deny the power of its storytelling and the excellence that is Florence Pugh.