The 2022 period psychological drama The Wonder is currently streaming on Netflix. Directed by Sebastian Lelio, the movie is adapted from Emma Donoghue’s 2016 novel of the same name. This thought-provoking masterpiece takes place in 1862, shortly after the Great Famine. It tells the tale of a young girl who can survive without eating and the English nurse tasked with observing her.
Elizabeth “Lib” Wright, portrayed by the talented Florence Pugh, is at the heart of The Wonder. Lib, who previously served in the Crimean War, is sent to a remote Irish village to closely monitor Anna O’Donnell, a young girl who her family claims has not eaten for four months. Her prolonged fasting appears miraculous, defying the laws of nature and baffling the local community.
The Wonder is not just a story of deception and intrigue; it is a nuanced exploration of several complex themes.
However, Lib’s arrival in the village is not met with open arms. The scars of the Great Famine still linger, fostering distrust and resentment towards the English. Yet, Lib remains undeterred in her quest to uncover the truth behind Anna’s fasting. The Wonder artfully delves into the dynamics of Anna’s profoundly religious family, including her mother, Rosaleen, her father, Malachy, and her elder sister, Kitty.
Over dinner, Lib learns of the family’s belief that Anna is sustained by “manna from Heaven.” But as she investigates, Lib begins to suspect that there is more to Anna’s fast than meets the eye. The discovery that Anna’s mother kisses her goodnight while covertly passing chewed food leaves Lib no choice but to intervene.
She separates Anna from her family, resulting in a deterioration of Anna’s condition. As tensions mount and Anna’s health declines, the village’s skepticism transforms into fear, casting a shadow over the community. However, The Wonder is not just a story of deception and intrigue. It is a nuanced exploration of several complex themes.
Florence Pugh’s portrayal of Lib carries the emotional weight of The Wonder, drawing viewers into the complexities of her character’s journey.
Anna’s fast becomes a symbol of her resilience and her struggle to free her brother’s soul from the shackles of sin. Lib is also haunted by her past, grieving the loss of her only child. Her journey in the village parallels Anna in many ways, as they both confront their inner demons and deal with their traumas.
Florence Pugh’s portrayal of Lib carries the emotional weight of The Wonder, drawing viewers into the complexities of her character’s journey. The cast, including Niamh Algar, Elaine Cassidy, Dermot Crowley, Brían F. O’Byrne, and David Wilmot, delivers stellar performances that elevate the story and contribute to its rich tapestry.
The Wonder was adapted for the big screen by screenwriters Emma Donoghue, Alice Birch, and filmmaker Sebastian Lelio, who managed to preserve the essence of the source material. Principal photography in the picturesque Irish countryside enhanced the film’s immersive experience. The movie debuted at the Telluride Film Festival in September 2022.
Following a limited theatrical release in November 2022, The Wonder became available for streaming on Netflix. The film received widespread acclaim from critics who praised its production design and cast performances. The movie currently holds an 86 percent critics rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes alongside an equally impressive 73 percent audience score based on over 500 viewer ratings.
Florence Pugh Through The Years
Florence Pugh’s acting journey began in her teenage years. She appeared in several stage productions at school, honing her acting skills. Pugh made her feature film debut in 2014 with the movie The Falling, directed by Carol Morley. In the film, she portrayed Abbie Mortimer, a role that earned her critical acclaim and marked her as a promising young actress.
Her breakthrough came in 2016, years before The Wonder, when she starred in the period drama Lady Macbeth. Pugh played Katherine Lester, a young woman trapped in a loveless marriage in 19th-century England. Her performance received widespread acclaim, and she won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actress for her efforts.
Following The Wonder, Pugh has appeared as Jean Tatlock in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. The film is an adaptation of the 2005 biography American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. It delves into the life and career of J. Robert, the theoretical physicist known for his role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II initiative responsible for the development of the atomic bomb.
Pugh will next be seen in Dune: Part Two, the upcoming romance film We Live in Time from director John Crowley and scriptwriter Nick Payne. For now, fans can catch the actress in The Wonder on Netflix.