2017 | 117 minutes | Rated PG
Adapting a book by Brian Selznick, the story starts off in the 1970s with a young Minnesotan boy (Oakes Fegley) struggling to cope with the loss of his mother. After a freak lightning strike leaves him deaf, he runs away to New York to find his mysterious father. As clues inexorably lead him toward the gargantuan American Museum of Natural History, the movie keeps flashing back 50 years, zooming in on a hearing-impaired girl (Millicent Simmonds) with a similar tie to the landmark. Unfortunately, the backdrops often tend to overshadow the actual goings-on: Charming as the young performers are, the lengthy sequences of them traipsing through various exhibits come off as maybe a bit less entrancing than intended. Once Wonderstruck’s stories finally sync up, however, it’s possible to forgive quite a bit. Set within the Queens Museum’s astounding model of New York, Wonderstruck’s finale finds Haynes in top form, depicting loss, memories, and hope in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Sheer movie magic should never be discounted, even when it takes a while to arrive.
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