Foreign Film Series: The Wonders

Part of the Foreign Film Series: The Wonder’s movie poster


Che cosa sta succedendo nel campus, Rangers?

Translated from Italian into English, “What’s happening on campus, Rangers?” There is something for everyone to enjoy, including cinephiles.  UW-Parkside is presenting its 35th annual Foreign Film Series in The Rita during the Fall and Spring semester, featuring multiple award winning movies from around the globe.

The first group of movies to be released during this series are flicks directly from contemporary Italian directors.  A majority of these foreign films will showcase a different style of vision and directing than American audiences are accustomed to. One of these films in particular caught me off guard in a good way. That movie is called The Wonders.

Movie Review

The Wonders is written and directed by Italian screenwriter, Alice Rohrwacher. The movie follows the story of a 12 year old girl named Gelsomina who lives in rural Italy with her parents and three younger sisters. They are a family of bee farmers, living within a strict lifestyle, due to the demands of the profession. The story is told from Gelsomina’s point of view about everything she and her family go through. Because her father never had a son, it falls to Gelsomina to carry on the family’s traditions to the next generation.

I wasn’t quite sure what initially drew me into seeing this film. However, after reading the premise, I think it’s my love for a good old fashioned underdog story that brought me into the fold. Much to my surprise, this is a well written, well acted coming-of-age story from a foreign perspective.

The driving force of this film is its main protagonist, Gelsomina, portrayed by Maria Alexandra Lungu. Lungu’s performance comes off as being very natural. It’s a delight to see how she interacts with the rest of the cast. Lungu’s character is very well-developed through her emotional, overcoming story arc that effectively tugs on the viewer’s heartstrings.

This movie can be a bit of an acquired taste. The Wonders takes a little time to get on track due to its English subtitles and the slowly-evolving plot as a whole. However, I think that’s why this movie stands out because of how it is structured. As I mentioned before, Gelsomina and the entirety of the cast came off very realistic. The audience can find aspects of the story they relate to or even appreciate the era we live in now just by viewing this film.

Overall Review

As a whole, The Wonders is an emotional, well-directed, coming of age story. This film features a great, likable cast, a very solid plot, and well written dialogue. This is a crowd pleasing film that will instantly make you feel good after watching it. On my movie grading scale, an “A” is The Breakfast Club and an “F” is The Karate Kid 3. I’m going to give The Wonders a solid “B” in my books.

For more reviews on the latest movies to hit the theaters, check out my movie blog!

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