Stopping wonder if it makes sense, and just sit back and enjoy
Director Todd Haynes ("Carol") has brought forth yet another slow paced film with "Wonderstruck". Containing almost no dialogue, the strong score (by Carter Burwell) fills the void of the voices and provides all the sounds of the emotions and environment in which the two main terrific child actors Ben (Oakes Fegley "Pete's Dragon") and Rose (relative newcomer and deaf actress Millicent Simmonds) encounter. At Ben's side, and with a voice, is his new friend and equally talented young actor Jamie (Jaden Michael "Baby Jaguar VO in Dora the Explorer) who unexpectedly helps move the two very different yet parallel stories of Ben and Rose along. While the jumping back and forth from the eras of 1920 (Rose) and 1970's (Ben) kept the film interesting, additional flashbacks explaining Ben's history, a cameo by Michelle Williams as Ben's mom, and double character rolls by Julianne Moore (as Lillian Mayhew and the older Rose) just left me confused and frustrated. Not frustrated enough to walk out, but enough that I just went with the flow and stopped trying to figure things out. Carter Burwell's score will surely be in Oscar consideration, Haynes' ability to capture the various periods will find Oscar traction, and costumes wizard Sandy Powell will once again be in the running for an Award. The film is based on book by Brian Selznick's, and I can hope the storyline in the book was easier to follow.
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