Is The Wonder based on a true story? Writer on Book Changes

Sebastian Lelio’s latest film The Wonder has landed on Netflix with a bang, starring Florence Pugh as an English nurse invited to the Irish Midlands in 1862 to observe what appears to be a miracle.

A young girl, Anna O’Donnell, claims to have eaten nothing for four months and yet appears to be in good health. His parents and many committee members from across town believe it to be a religious miracle, but Lib, who is a firm believer in medical facts, suspects a deception.

What follows is a gripping thriller as faith collides with reason and religion with science.

But is The Wonder fiction or is it inspired by a true story? Read on for everything you need to know.

Is The Wonder on Netflix based on a true story?

Toby Jones as Dr McBrearty, Dermot Crowley as Sir Otway and Ciarán Hinds as Father Thaddeus in The Wonder. cr. Christopher Barr/Netflix © 2022

The Wonder is based on Room author Emma Donoghue’s 2016 novel of the same name, which in turn is inspired by a disturbing historical phenomenon: real cases of “fasting girls” reported in the Victorian era. – women, often prepubescent, who claimed to survive without food for months or even years.

However, Donoghue did not focus on any particular case and instead made up a story that contained everything she wanted to explore about the historical phenomenon: the clash between faith and reason, religion and science, and the theme of our relationship to our bodies.

Talking about why she thinks the story is relevant for modern audiences, Donoghue – who adapted her novel for the big screen alongside Alice Birch (Normal People) and Lelio – told in an exclusive interview: “I think it’s interesting that it’s about a girl who pretends not to eat.

“Because it’s not exactly the same as the modern stories of eating disorders, but it touches on an issue that comes up all the time today, you know our relationship with our own bodies, and it’s crucial that there were so many scenes that made the final cut of Florence eating.”

More like this

She continued, “She’s a big eater. She’s an avid eater. And rather than saying, ‘Oh, it’s important, to eat, it’s important to see her eat those bowls of food and choose life again and again” – it’s a beautiful thing and a subtle message in the film, I think.”

How does the film differ from the novel? Wonder Book Changes Explained

Kila Lord Cassidy as Anna O’Donnell in The Wonder. cr. Christopher Barr/Netflix

The Wonder is a faithful adaptation of the novel, but Donoghue made some minor changes when adapting the book for the big screen.

Talk to RadioTimes.comDonoghue explained, “I knew the landscape would take on a powerful quality in this film that I wouldn’t say was particularly true of Room or The Wonder’s book.”

She added, “I knew it would become visual in a new way and the landscape had to help us tell that story. I also knew it couldn’t be as wordy as the book.”

She continued: “The book is literally about someone whose job is to take notes – she writes things, she reads things. She has a constant internal monologue and I didn’t want the movie to be wordy in the same way.

“So my first job was to retell the story with a lot less verbosity and in particular to find ways to bring the religious aspects of the story down to things like the holy cards, to find ways to don’t let it get bogged down in religion, and theological explanation.”

The film makes a few other changes to its source material to increase the intensity, namely the acceleration of Lib’s romance with journalist Will Byrne (Tom Burke), which is teased for pages and pages from the novel.

The Wonder’s cinematic framing device, which exposes the film’s artifice and poses important questions about storytelling, also marks a departure from the novel.

The Marvel is available to watch now on Netflix. Sign up for Netflix from £6.99 per month. Netflix is ​​also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

Looking for something else to watch? Discover our tv guide Where Streaming Guideor visit our Drama hub for more news and features.

The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now. For more on TV’s biggest stars, listen to the Podcast Radio Times View From My Sofa.