Really wasn't planning on a "Wonder" post. Firstly, Rockstar and Friends have been looking out for the movie adaptation of this former Battle Of the Books book ever since they heard about it last year. (More than a little useful that the school library appears to curate BOB books, painstakingly labelled including with the year it was in the BOB, plus the kids read some of them in class too.)
Secondly, Rockstar has friends who a) ran, ran, ran to catch the movie at the cinema before we even realised it was finally out and then were talking about it over at Big Pirate-Themed Birthday Party last weekend, and b) even had opinions about the extent to which Auggie's disfigurement as portrayed in the book was not 100% accurately captured in the movie.
KIDS THESE DAYS <MAJOR EYEROLL>
But to my point -
(Can I just say Gal Gadot studied Law and was a combat trainer in the Israel Defense Forces for 2 years before making movies (I like Army because of the basic concept of a "chain of command" - it was very important during my former life in 3 banking mergers when reporting lines changed 5 times in 3 years - very hard to get something done if you don't know who your real boss is):
And she says, "You give two or three years and it's not about you. You learn discipline and respect..." (but no I don't agree with her Maxim skimpy swimsuit shoot - men's magazine is SO not the same as women's fashion skimpy shoot a la Emma Watson's, the majority of men I know don't even understand women's fashion haha))
So, as previously intended, I won't. (The book was awesome, the movie is awesome, nothing more to say. Go watch it. There are many powerful illustrations and visuals in it)
Now, I don't know how the portrayal of Miranda in the movie stacks up against Miranda in the book, but Movie Miranda is Auggie's sister Via's best friend who goes off to camp, and when she returns she's gotten too cool for her old friends. It Girl makeup, hot pink hair.
(Couldn't find a nicer pic of Miranda in the heavy eyeliner in my opinion either. Because my attitude to heavy makeup is about the same as with higher heels. Too much work when less is more - doesn't make sense. Unless you're an ancient Egyptian. Then the massive amount of blue eyeshadow totally makes sense. :D)
Miranda goes on to snag the lead part in the school stage production. Her former best friend Via, Auggie's rather neglected and incredibly selfless sister, gets the role of understudy for the part, despite her best efforts to get an actual role, with the encouragement from her new boyfriend.
Now, Via is mostly a straight-up beautiful person throughout the movie. She counsels Auggie, "It's not about you. Not everything is about you"... I do believe when not everything is about you, not every insult or hurt or "attack" is about you either. And it increases your own resilience. (Otherwise "everything" is a personal attack and you're an angry, angry person.) Anyway here's why I especially loved Miranda in the movie:
It turns out that Miranda has put a huge effort into reinventing herself in the wake of her parents' divorce, her father's preoccupation with his new wife, and her mother's subsequent downward spiral. Sophisticated "It" Girl Look is one of several efforts to deal. (And she can't bring herself to tell her former best friend any of this. Or the fact she's gotten popular at camp pretending to be her best friend, Special Needs brother and all.)
Even as the girls continue to drift apart, Via perpetually has what Miranda wishes she did, only Via doesn't know it.
On the night of the school play Miranda, all dressed up and poised to play the lead part she has rightfully earned and worked so hard for, notices Via arriving with her family - the family she wished were her own.
Miranda is painfully aware she has no one coming to watch her shine onstage. (Oh yeah, Via's boyfriend has a part in the play as well, Miranda doesn't have a boyfriend.) What do you think Cool New "It" Girl does?- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Miranda claims sickness and insists she can't perform, thereby providing Via the chance to be the centre of attention in her family for the first time.
OMG!!!!! IF YOU EVER FIND A FRIEND LIKE MIRANDA, DON'T LET HER GO!!!
😀 For real though, in that moment when Miranda is faced with this choice: The easy option - just go along with the big part and shine and have fun (kind of) basking in the attention of people she mostly doesn't know (and therefore can't care that much about) vs the crazy, much more difficult decision of going above and beyond, to yield for someone with a greater need, she makes the hard choice. It is in that moment that Lonely It Girl "saves" - nope, not Via but - herself.
I can't explain exactly why, and in the movie you just see that it does, (but how on earth do you ever easily portray why it does, right?) Maybe it's because everyone is aware of the sacrifice Miranda has made.
Maybe you think what Miranda did is stupid, lead part is a chance of a lifetime, it's never coming again, she earned it fair and square and they may not even be friends later on when they go to college. Yeah maybe. But the point was not the play (and if you think the pinnacle of your life achievements is going to be lead in the high school play then um.........).
The point was what the ability to see another person's greater need and make a "lesser" sacrifice on your own part does for you, your personality, your drive and ability to perform more and better achievements like that one. Miranda was able to see that even if she went on with the lead, there was no one there to watch her (this time). She could not change that. (And yes that is sad. If it were about her, you'd feel really sorry for her, right? Like we feel sorry for what happened to her mum? But Miranda proves stronger than her mum; more valuable than anyone watching that ability/ talent onstage that evening, is Miranda's actual ability to clinch that lead in the first place. That doesn't go away just because no one is watching at the moment.)
I like to believe that ability gets stronger when you don't feel you've "arrived" because you've got the lead.There's some study that says your likelihood of achieving a goal actually diminishes, the more people you tell about it because psychologically the more you talk about it the more your unconscious mind thinks you've kinda already done it. That makes you try less hard. For the Type A in all of us - would you rather have the one lead or would you want to perpetually have more and better and keep being able to bring joy to families like Via's? It's almost like a superpower, except they don't all come with costumes. (Well, they could have pink hair...)
Also - Miranda could not fix her parents' marriage, any more than she could change the fact no one was coming to watch her be the lead. However it was in her ability (and hers alone)to place Via in a position where her family would see her onstage in the spotlight for awhile despite Auggie's constant needs, for the first time.
When you are the only person able to create such happiness and magic for several other people who live day to day with surgeries and hassle (not to mention bullying) I believe that is even more empowering for your future self than just going with the lead in this one play.
It's staking your own belief in yourself, that you are much more than just this current achievement. Because you are the lead in a play/ a banker/ a doctor and what-not for 2 weeks, 15, 40 years. But you are who you are, for your entire life.
No, it's not easy. Nothing that is worth anything is ever easy. But people make sacrifices pretty often when they grow up. They're called parents. (Can you imagine what parenting looks like if parents literally make it "All About Them"?) Spouses. And many more besides. (If everyone does not want to yield how are you going to ever raise kids/ compromise on careers, and- and - why are Hong Kong taxi drivers often so angry on the road???)
"Sacrifices" ironically are one of the "backbones" of our society, whether the more selfish Type As care to admit it or not. (Come to think of it even your spine has bits with cartilage so you can bend and move right, and can you imagine how miserable everyone who drives would be, if the roads only had angry Taxi Drivers on them? (I'm just going to get cabbie hate mail now, aren't I :P))
You are your actions.
True beauty (and worship, I was once taught) is in sacrifice and kindness.
ps: Remember when I said Rockstar had a wager going...
Rockstar's wager after cramming for as respectable a grade as possible (having spent the rest of his time on things like Youtubing Megalovania on Synthesia) was that if he makes "Merit or above" he gets Thor's Hammer.
We owe him Thor's Hammer. Only, he doesn't want the hammer anymore and it wasn't a Merit. (Hasn't decided what he wants, he can take a few months researching Amazon haha).
Something interesting about his ABRSM results - he could've put in more effort on practicing sight reading and scales - and his test scores accurately reflect that (I mention because it has always mildly annoyed me that sight reading and scales can easily be practiced straight out to help your chances on the bits you can't prepare for... and he's still so chill :P).
What "saved" him however (and Rockstar, dis is payback for the chill BUAHAHAHAHA) is - get this - his aural. He got a freakin' 17/18. Turns out he does have a bit of an ear and can sing in tune. But you'd have to light a bonfire under him before he'd ever do it (sing). Otherwise rest of the time he's just making goat noises. All over the apartment, all round the mountain trail at OB, a high, bright "Beh!" sound. Amazing they didn't leave him on the mountain somewhere 😀