The film, based on the half-illustrated children’s story by Hugo author Brian Selznick follows the lives of two deaf children, one a girl living in 1927 New York, and the other a boy living in 1977 Minnesota. They are both stripped partially of parentage and are looking for their places within a world of things. The girl, played by young deaf actress Millicent Simmonds in her movie debut, is an urchin enchanted by the movies of Lillian Mayhew (Julianne Moore), to whom she feels an inexplicable connection. The boy, played by Pete’s Dragon star Oakes Fegley, lives with his free-spirited mother (Michelle Williams) and longs to know his absent father.
Some critics laud the film as a masterpiece, citing the Carol director’s mastery over period piece, mood, and filling spaces in narrative with meaning. Others are not so sure, and while they praise Haynes’ work as another splendorous outing into his unique cinematic world, they also lament that the emotional payoff is somewhat lacking. With Cannes reviews notoriously being some of the toughest in the entire festival circuit, these small critiques lead one to believe that the film will more than likely fair well with viewers, and keep Haynes fans happy.
The critics are already starting to weigh in: David Rooney in The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “Alive with the magic of pictures and the mysteries of silence, this is an uncommonly grownup film about children, communication, connection and memory,” while IndieWire‘s David Ehrich wrote called the film, “A soul-stirring and fiercely uncynical film.” On the slightly more opposing side, Variety‘s Owen Glieberman was a bit more critical, calling the film, “An ambitious doohickey impersonating a work of art.”
Check out some further reactions to Wonderstruck:
WONDERSTRUCK may be a hyper-faithful adaptation of a YA novel, but it’s *pure* Todd Haynes. and holy shiTTtt DA GOD Carter Burwell. a hero.
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) May 18, 2017
WONDERSTRUCK features one of all-time great Carter Burwell scores, which alternates between orchestral, silent-movie mode & streetwise jive.
— Peter Debruge (@AskDebruge) May 18, 2017
WONDERSTRUCK: Todd Haynes makes a kids’ movie his way. Smart, tender, not too sappy. First time one of his films made me cry. #Cannes2017
— Tim Grierson (@TimGrierson) May 18, 2017
With Wonderstruck @Festival_Cannes has its first Oscar contender: who can beat Carter Burwell’s score for a largely silent movie?
— Anne Thompson (@akstanwyck) May 18, 2017
Wonderstruck hits theaters on October 20th.