Rejoice friends, for at long last the “Florence Pugh appearing in a movie worthy of her talent” drought is potentially over. And not just that; the Midsommar actor’s new project looks almost as eerie and cult-y as her breakout role. And she finally gets to be British again! It truly is a beautiful day in the Pugh-niverse.
If this all seems like a miracle, it is—at least, that’s what The Wonder wants you to think.
Pugh stars as Lib Wright, a Victorian-era English nurse sent to a remote community in the Irish midlands to keep watch over a mysterious young girl. Once there, she learns that her 11-year-old charge, Anna O’Donnell (newcomer Kíla Lord Cassidy), has not eaten for four months, instead claiming that she subsists entirely on “manna from heaven.” “And how does that feel,” asks a skeptical Lib in the trailer, to which Anna replies, “Full.”
The sparse and haunting clip goes on to give us small glimpses into Lib’s increasingly claustrophobic world, as her staunch determination to help the girl begins to clash with the community’s dogged commitment to their faith. Set over a taut score by Matthew Herbert, the film’s tone feels like a quieter version of the putrefying religious fanaticism in Robert Eggers’ The Witch, and the visual of the desolate, burning cabins staged against a beautiful but cold vista feels like, well, a quieter version of Robert Eggers’ The Northman.
The Wonder is directed by Sebastián Lelio, whose previous work includes Disobedience and the Academy Award-winning A Fantastic Woman. It is based on Room author Emma Donoghue’s 2016 novel of the same name, which explores the real-life Victorian phenomenon of “fasting girls,” on which Anna’s character is based.
The Wonder will premiere in select theaters November 2, and will be available to stream on Netflix November 16.