Wonderstruck: Film Review

I enjoyed what Todd Haynes did with Carol so I had high hopes for Wonderstruck, and I know a lot of people did love it, but it is an odd film and I found it somewhat disappointing.

Wonderstruck switches back and forth between two timelines – in 1977, we follow Ben (Oakes Fegley) after the death of his mother Elaine Wilson (Michelle Williams). He is electrocuted and becomes deaf, but he doesn’t let that stop him and he hops on a bus to New York from Minnesota to search for his father. In 1927, we follow deaf girl Rose (Millicent Simmonds) who runs away from her father’s home in New Jersey to find her actress mother Lillian Mayhew (Julianne Moore) in New York.

You know eventually the two storylines will tie up and it’s fun to put the puzzle pieces together and it does come to a nice conclusion, but it takes far too long for the storylines to come together in a logical way, and by the time they merge I had lost enthusiasm and concentration a little bit. It’s 117 minutes long, and the stories needed to connect sooner because most of the film is largely two separate stories (albeit with similar themes) that are edited back and forth in a bizarre and occasionally jarring way.

It was a bad idea to cast Moore in dual roles because that is confusing when the storylines start coming together. She is the only one that appears in both stories and plays two characters and that did not help when I was trying to solve the mystery. Mayhew is such an insignificant part that it should have gone to someone else. Fegley was cute and held his own but his storyline went on too long and had too many tangents, so Simmonds, who is deaf in real-life, was the most interesting character. If you’re a Michelle Williams fan, you will disappointed as she is barely in it at all.

Wonderstruck is just a headscratcher – it is so bizarre. The editing wasn’t quite right and it needed a significant chop on Ben’s side and needed to bring the connection, or at least some significant hints, sooner. I wasn’t particularly invested in their stories because I was too focused on making connections. Shame.

In cinemas Friday 6th April 

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