The Wonder (2022)
108 min|Drama, Mystery, Thriller|16 Nov 2022
6.6Rating: 6.6 / 10 from 43,926 usersMetascore: 71
A tale of two strangers who transform each other's lives, a psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

“The Wonder,” directed by Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Lelio, known for his Oscar-winning film “A Fantastic Woman” (2017), is a rare combination of periodic, spiritual drama, psychological trauma, and thriller elements. Starring Florence Pugh, Tom Burke, Toby Jones, and Ciaran Hinds, the film was released on Netflix on November 16, 2022. With Lelio’s golden touch and the exciting blend of themes, can this film meet our expectations?

Set in the Irish countryside in 1862, the story revolves around Elizabeth “Lib” (Pugh), a nurse sent from London to care for a unique case. Ana, a girl, refuses to eat for months, and Lib’s responsibility is to monitor her alongside a nun. Ana’s condition is considered a miracle by her family and the locals, while a local doctor attempts to find a scientific explanation for her sustained condition. Amidst this complexity, Lib endeavors to use her sanity to help Ana while confronting her own past trauma.

The film opens with an intriguing fourth-wall-breaking technique, a rare occurrence in movies, transitioning from the studio indoors to the film’s setting. The significance of this becomes apparent in a pivotal shot at the ending, altering our understanding of the narrative. Throughout the plot, the mystery surrounding Ana’s condition sparks curiosity, and the film navigates between spiritual and scientific elements, leaving us questioning what truly transpired.

Baca Juga  The Stranger

Sebastian Lelio skillfully manipulates the audience through dialogue, revealing Lib’s traumatized side amidst the dark and artistic cinematography. The plot unfolds patiently with a slow tempo, balancing the spiritual and scientific aspects in an unpredictable manner. As Lib’s trauma is unveiled, the subsequent developments become somewhat foreseeable. However, an unexpected figure in the concluding shot introduces a twist, offering a different interpretation.

While “The Wonder” boasts a unique premise, it falls short of delivering an emotionally evocative spiritual drama, despite the potential denial in the ending. The ensemble cast, especially Pugh, delivers strong performances, immersing the audience in the narrative. Nevertheless, the film proves challenging to analyze. The fourth-wall-breaking character raises questions about her identity—Is she “God” or an “angel”? Her intervention guides Lib to act spontaneously, seemingly atoning for past sins. The film prompts viewers to contemplate whether it discusses belief (faith) or logic, suggesting that perhaps wonder can encompass both.

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His hobby has been watching films since childhood, and he studied film theory and history autodidactically after graduating from architectural studies. He started writing articles and reviewing films in 2006. Due to his experience, the author was drawn to become a teaching staff at the private Television and Film Academy in Yogyakarta, where he taught Film History, Introduction to Film Art, and Film Theory from 2003 to 2019. His debut film book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2008, which divides film art into narrative and cinematic elements. The second edition of the book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2018. This book has become a favorite reference for film and communication academics throughout Indonesia. He was also involved in writing the Montase Film Bulletin Compilation Book Vol. 1-3 and "30 Best Selling Indonesian Films 2012-2018." Additionally, he authored the "Horror Film Book: From Caligari to Hereditary" (2023) and "Indonesian Horror Film: Rising from the Grave" (2023). Until now, he continues to write reviews of the latest films at and is actively involved in all film productions at the Montase Film Community. His short films have received high appreciation at many festivals, both local and international. Recently, his writing was included in the shortlist (top 15) of Best Film Criticism at the 2022 Indonesian Film Festival. From 2022 until now, he has also been a practitioner-lecturer for the Film Criticism and Film Theory courses at the Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of the Arts in the Independent Practitioner Program.


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