The Wonderful

By Erin Good | Drama
A man is sent to verify a lead for his job at Wonder Inc., then finds an equally lost soul in the form of a young girl who can levitate.

Daniel is sent to a family’s home to follow up on a lead as part of his job at Wonder Inc, a company that exhibits “things so wonderful it’ll make you believe in magic.” He’s been told that a young girl can levitate, and needs to verify the miracle before the company can offer the company a contract.

But when he visits the house, he encounters not only a miraculous young girl who can truly float in mid-air, but an off-kilter, seemingly greedy father figure or caretaker who is highly protective of his charge — and keeps her isolated from the outside world. Recognizing another lost soul trapped and alone — and in potential danger of exploitation — Daniel is reminded perhaps of his own little daughter, whom he lost quite young. Daniel then decides to set the girl free from her prison.

Writer-director Erin Good, along with co-writer Sarah-Jane McAllan, has fashioned a gem of a fantasy short, mixing empathetic drama and well-constructed suspense with magic realism to charming effect.

Using the film’s special effects both subtly and judiciously, Good excels at building a world both recognizable and whimsical at once. The setting seems of a different time and place, full of old-fashioned decor and antiques and a dusty sense of being cordoned off from the rest of the world. Both Daniel’s space and the girl’s home feel isolated, and the story likewise focuses on its tight ensemble of characters, evoking the company only through sound and dialogue.

Like the mise-en-scene, the filmmaking has an almost nostalgic, classical feel and flair, from its stately camerawork, its beautifully suffused lighting and its richly evocative score, which becomes propulsive as the film takes a suspenseful turn and Daniel takes the action he likely wishes he could have many years ago. He’s rewarded, though, with a beautifully poignant moment and image that will also stir the audience’s heartstrings with its sweeping emotion.

“The Wonderful” has the feel of a fairytale, both because of its subject matter and the ambitious execution of its story. Its narrative scale focuses on the moment of the encounter and subsequent rescue, but audiences will likely crave more, whether it’s to learn more about the company, Daniel’s past or the young girl’s own backstory. But as a short in and of itself, it’s still transportive and uplifting, instilling its own sense of magic and wonder for its nine minute runtime.

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