Country: Italy / others
Movie Review: Alice Rohrwacher is an emergent Italian filmmaker whose impressive talent could be proven in her debut “Corpo Celeste”. In her second feature-length, “The Wonders”, she keeps involving us with her powerful filmmaking, vigorously pushing us into a story that conveys as much beauty as sadness, in its own melancholic yet observant way. The characters are intriguing; it seems that there’s always something to be discovered in them. This sense of unpredictability is present throughout all the film, functioning as a secret formula to keep us pursuing a story that takes the time to evolve. With an attentive social awareness, “The Wonders” is centered on teenager Gelsomina who lives in a rural region with her parents and three younger sisters. Their house seems not to gather the best conditions to be living in but has a neat honey laboratory that mainly guarantees their livelihood. Being a real expert with bees, Gelsomina is indispensable to her father, Wolfgang, a traditional beekeeper whose stubbornness and strictness is followed by limited ambitions. Since he lacks responsibility and is a big spender, indulging himself into certain eccentricities like buying a camel to reward his daughter’s work, the family has sunk in debt. A unique opportunity to overcome the situation arises when they are invited to participate in a TV show contest for farmers called ‘The Land of Wonders’. Gelsomina, despite stuck in her family life, will also reveal an admirable maturity when deal with an emotionally insecure friend of the family, Cocó, and a quiet troubled teen, Martin, who arrived to help her father. The uncanny finale proves that this family doesn’t break, even in the worst situations. Slightly less riveting than “Corpo Celeste”, “The Wonders”, overall is a palpable, rich drama.