Directed by Sebastián Lelio, Netflix’s ‘The Wonder‘ is a period movie set in 1862 that is based on Emma Donoghue’s eponymous 2016 book. The film follows a young nurse named Elizabeth “Lib” Wright as she visits a village in Ireland to look after a girl named Anna O’Donnell. The latter’s religious family claims that she has not eaten anything for four months, and Anna herself states that she remains alive by consuming “manna from Heaven.” As Lib forms a bond with Anna, whom she affectionately calls Nan, she realizes that not everything is as it seems. The nurse teams up with William Byrne, a local journalist, to help Anna while those around her remain adamant about their faith in God.
Starring Florence Pugh, Kíla Lord Cassidy, and Tom Burke, the film deals with several groundbreaking issues like sexual harassment, misogyny, and overzealousness. The characters and the storyline keep the audience hooked throughout as they cheer for the protagonists to have their happy endings. If you have just finished watching the Sebastián Lelio directorial and are looking for something just like it, these 8 films might be right up your alley. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘The Wonder’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
8. Lady Macbeth (2016)
If you enjoyed Florence Pugh’s work in the Netflix movie, then ‘Lady Macbeth’ is sure to keep you entertained. Directed by William Oldroyd, the film tells the story of Katherine Lester and how she feels trapped in her loveless marriage. Weighed down by the restrictions placed on her, Katherine soon gains a taste of freedom when her husband and father-in-law leave the family estate. Slowly but surely, Katherine takes back the reigns of her life and tries to gain the love she desperately seeks. However, her plans soon take a fatal turn creating a compelling story. Set in 1865 England, the film deals with similar themes as ‘The Wonder’ and is set in the same era.
7. A Dangerous Method (2011)
Starring Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, and Michael Fassbender, ‘A Dangerous Mind’ is a historical drama that tells the story of some of the most well-known names in the field of psychology. It is the year 1904, and Sabina Spielrein has just been admitted to the psychiatric facility to be overseen by a young Swiss doctor named Carl Jung. Spielrein soon develops a keen interest in psychology and starts learning from Jung. Psychologists Sigmund Freud and Otto Gross play crucial roles in Spielrein’s growth as a medical practitioner and her relationship with Jung. Based on real-life events, the films provide a glimpse into the psychological industry in the early 20th century and the treatment of women going through mental health issues. If the psychological aspect of ‘The Wonder,’ along with its frank depiction of hard-hitting issues, piqued your interest then the Keira Knightley starrer might just be what you need!
6. Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Set in the year 1967, ‘Girl, Interrupted‘ revolves around Susanna Kaysen, who is admitted to a psychiatric hospital after she has a nervous breakdown and overdoses on aspirin and alcohol. Though initially against the very idea of being a patient, Susanna soon develops a bond with other patients who are dealing with their own mental health issues. As time passes, the women try to help each other in any way possible while staying under the strict regime of the doctors and the nurse. However, the path to recovery is far from simple and soon takes a dark turn. Featuring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, the film is based on real-life events and addresses issues of mental health and sexual harassment in a way similar to ‘The Wonder.’ The female solidarity showcased in the 1999 movie might also appeal to those who enjoyed the bond between Lib and Anna.
5. Black Swan (2010)
If you are looking for a compelling psychological movie that revolves around a female protagonist, Darren Aronofsky‘s ‘Black Swan‘ might just be the perfect fit. With actors like Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, and Winona Ryder, the film presents the thrilling tale of Nina Sayers, a ballerina who loses herself into the world of her own imagination and hallucination after she is cast for the leading role in Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake.’ Apart from the dangerous aspects of mental trauma, the movie also delves into themes like sexual harassment and self-harm. The shared themes between the Darren Aronofsky directorial and ‘The Wonder’ is sure to captivate the admirers of the latter.
4. Spencer (2021)
Pablo Larraín’s ‘Spencer‘ combines history and psychology to tell the story of Diana, Princess of Wales. Set in during the Christmas festivities of 1991, the movie showcases the life of Diana as a member of the royal family, her marital problems, and her worsening mental health. Throughout the film, we see the Princess doing her best to maintain a cordial relationship with others while her mind provides her with different hallucinations, often involving harm to herself or others. Given the popularity of Princess Diana and the exploration of her thoughts as a part of the British Royal family, ‘Spencer’ addresses several issues, like eating disorders and psychological trauma, which can also be found in ‘The Wonder.’
3. Room (2015)
If you enjoyed the narrative style of ‘The Wonder,’ then you may like ‘Room.’ The Lenny Abrahamson directorial shares the name with Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel, and the author also penned the book on which ‘The Wonder’ is based. Starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, the film revolves around a young woman named Joy Newsome and her son Jack. The duo is trapped in a room by a man called Old Nick, and Joy is repeatedly assaulted by a man who is also Jack’s biological father. Slowly Joy decides to tell Jack more about the outside world from which she was abducted, and the young boy becomes curious. After much effort, the two escape, but adjusting to the real world proves harder than they had expected. With themes like motherhood, entrapment, and sexual assault, ‘Room’ is sure to resonate with fans of ‘The Wonder.’
2. Hunger (2008)
‘Hunger’ is a historical movie set in 1980s Ireland. With the rising tensions between the Irish nationalists and the British loyalists in Northern Ireland, the condition of prisons within the region and the treatment of prisoners was far from ideal. In order to better the lives of the inmates, Bobby Sands led a hunger strike in the prison that shook the establishment to its core and paved the path for a brighter future. The concept of sacrificing food is something that the movie shares with ‘The Wonder.’ Combined with the fact that both films are set in Ireland, we are sure that ‘Hunger’ is sure to provide the fans of Sebastián Lelio with a sense of familiarity.
1. The Innocents (2016)
Inspired by real-life events, ‘The Innocents,’ AKA ‘Les Innocentes,’ is a French movie set in Warsaw, Poland, during the aftermath of World War 2. Mathilde Beaulieu, a young female medical student, is serving with the army when she is approached by a nun named Sister Teresa. The religious woman tells Mathilde that her convent has sick women who are less than happy about the referral to the Polish Red Cross. Upon meeting with the nuns, Mathilde discovers that the nuns are not ailed by any disease but are pregnant after being assaulted by soldiers of the Soviet Union during the war. The conflict between humanity, religion, motherhood, and society provides a heartwrenching story that is strikingly similar to the concepts utilized in ‘The Wonder.’