“The Wonder” on Netflix: the power of stories

The Wonder

Available on Netflix since November 16.

Netflix had the good idea to entrust Chilean director Sebastián Lelio (A fantastic woman,Gloria) the care of adapting the book of the Irish novelist, Emma Donoghue, The Wonder. A title that can be translated indifferently by “the wonder” or “the miracle”. It is in the latter that the small Irish community in which Lib Wright (Florence Pugh), an English nurse, arrives one fine morning.

We are in 1862, barely thirteen years after the great famine which devastated the country, and a mysterious phenomenon occurs: young girls who have stopped eating remain in good health. This is the case of the young Anna O’Donnell, 11, who claims to have swallowed nothing for four months.

A film with a romantic dimension

Dispatched to accredit this mystery with all the impartiality and rationality conferred on her by her profession, the young nurse, after having put an end to all contact between Anna and her family, can only observe a deterioration in the young girl’s condition…

In this film with a romantic scope and extremely careful lighting, Sebastián Lelio organizes a struggle between science and belief against a backdrop of collective and individual trauma. What does Anna’s family hope to atone for by depriving her of food? And why does the whole village, including its doctor, prefer to believe in miracles than in trickery?

Through this story, inspired by phenomena regularly listed between the 16th and 19th centuries, the filmmaker brilliantly orchestrates the confrontation between two stories to better tell us about the power of fiction. “Stories that we tell to ourselves and to others in order to survive and inhabit the world”, he explains.

And, so that the message is very clear, the first scene starts in the sets of the film in order to better underline all that it, too, of artificiality. What better than the cinema to invent stories?


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