This movie was aggravating to watch. Given the compelling plot elements, A-list celebs, and high production value, this could have been much better. Instead, it was contrived, schmaltzy, with mostly one-dimensional characters, and preachy in all of the ways that we've come to expect Hollywood movies to be preachy. Worse, they managed to pack in nearly every cliché in the book for this genre. The only character with any depth was the sister, Via, played by Izabela Vidovic, who struggled with her life being overshadowed by her brother's physical impairments.
Overall, this movie reminded me of a high-dollar After School Special which, I guess I'm not surprised considering it was intended to have a "moral of the story." But, as usual, Hollywood gets this moral wrong. I mean, let me ask this: how would the movie be if August wasn't a really sweet kid who was a wiz at science? What if he was a normal kid, with average grades, who happened to have Treacher-Collins Syndrome? Would he be any less deserving of respect and dignity? Would he be any less deserving of normal, happy friendships? But this movies writers apparently didn't think that would be a compelling enough story. They never do. Raymond Babbit, in Rain Man, couldn't just be an autistic man. He had to be an autistic savant. Rocky Dennis, in Mask, couldn't just be an average kid dealing with craniodiaphyseal dysplasia. He had to be a math and science wiz. Gotta get that extra umph from the "don't judge a book by its cover" angle. Granted, these were at least partly based on real people, but for every Kim Peek or Rocky Dennis, there are countless average kids dealing with extraordinary struggles who apparently just didn't seem interesting enough. And so it was with Auggie Pullman who didn't deserve to be remembered because he was an average kid dealing with the physical effects of his condition. He had to be a super sweet kid and a science wiz!
What's the moral of the story? Is it, "don't judge a book by its cover"? Or is it, "you gotta bring something special to the table if you want to be treated with dignity and respect"?