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Wonderstruck

Ben lives in Gunflint, Minnesota in 1977. His mother has just died, and he is living unhappily with his aunt and cousins. In a freak accident, he loses his hearing, escapes from the hospital and ends up on the streets of NYC. Rose lives in Brooklyn in 1927, is deaf and mute, and lives with her father, who clearly does not want her. She runs away to NYC as well and finds her brother. The two people are connected, and the film tells their stories and over time weaves their destinies together. Ben’s story is filmed in the rich colors of 1970’s films; Rose’s story is filmed in black and white and feels much like a silent movie. I really loved the way Haynes weaves their stories together, moving back and forth between the eras. The film is beautiful to look at; in Hayne’s style, he ensures that every scene is carefully shot and is visually captivating. The score is really interesting and complements the movie well. The moving back and forth doesn’t always work as well as it could, but I think that Haynes did a pretty good job tackling such a challenging task. The wonder of their worlds isn’t always evident, but when those wondrous moments happen, they are beautiful and emotional. The wonderful acting by the two kids also gives the film added depth. Thumbs up for me for a film that is predictable but never boring. While this is a movie about kids, I think that many kids would find it too slow; it is a movie about kids for film lovers (and those who appreciate Todd Hayne’s works).

About Gary Burkholder

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