Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson in Wonder
Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson in Wonder (Photo: Rex Features)

ARTS & CULTURE

What to watch this weekend

Wonder in the cinemas, a Rachel Whiteread profile documentary and a Sunday afternoon with Shrek

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By Emily Baker on

It's always nice to take a trip to the cinema and be met with Julia Roberts's smiling face and this time it's in Wonder, an adaption of the novel of the same name by R.J. Palacio. Starting school is always hard enough, but for Auggie Pullman it's that little bit trickier. Having suffered with a rare facial deformity since birth and going through multiple surgeries since, Auggie struggles to fit in with his fellow classmates. Roberts and her on-screen husband Owen Wilson play Auggie's parents, who are tasked with keeping his self-esteem and confidence up while simultaneously putting on their own brave faces. Wonder isn't a perfect film by any means – Auggie is played by Jacob Tremblay of Room fame, rather than an actor with a disability for instance – but it is a rather soothing watch. It's ultimately an uplifting story of childhood innocence and unbounding parental love, a comforting hug of a movie.

Over on Netflix, there's a rather... disturbing documentary. Voyeur was born out of a New Yorker profile of Gerald Foos, an abhorrent man who bought a motel with the sole purpose of watching his guests have sex. Told you it was weird. Josh Koury and Myles Kane's documentary Voyeur, however, focuses more on the relationship between Foos and Gay Talese, the journalist who wrote the article at hand and the hurdles he faced in creating the story. All is not as simple as it seems and questions of journalistic integrity, human interest and "fake news" are thrown into the light.

Friday

After recently inviting Johnny Depp and Mel Gibson to sit on the couch, Graham Norton's chat show needs a good week. Luckily for the BBC, Elton John, Carey Mulligan and Stephen Fry were all free for a family-friendly UK special show (BBC One, 10:35pm). Also there's nothing else on tonight, so it's this or sitting in a dark room staring at the wall. What's that? We could talk to each other? Nah.

Saturday

If you haven't been to Rachel Whiteread's restrospective exhibition at Tate Britain yet, or like a sensible person, you live outside London, fear not because at 9pm on BBC Two there's a special documentary.  Whiteread was the first woman to ever win the Turner Prize, and has since continued to impress and subvert the art world. Presenter Alan Yentob visits the artist in her studio where the magic happens and of course takes a look at her past work.

Elsewhere, channels are ramping up their family film output in the lead-up to Christmas. Tonight on Channel 4 at 8pm is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, in which a group of older men and women move to India to live out the rest of their days. Featuring some of the cream of the British crop like Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Dev Patel, it's a truly lovely film and does a very good job of affording interesting storylines that some older actors may not otherwise see. Bloody film industry.

Sunday

Speaking of which, the best thing the film industry have ever produced is to grace our screens on Sunday. Of course I'm talking about Shrek (ITV, 5:50pm). The love story of our ages, why not watch Shrek and Princess Fiona fall in love and subvert traditional fairy tales while you tuck into some yummy fire-roasted rat on a stick. I realise now that if you haven't seen Shrek, you will find that a very odd comment to make. But, because you haven't seen Shrek, YOU are the one in the wrong.

As is evident – telly is a wasteland at the moment and it's unlikely to pick up until Christmas specials start. Who knows though, hopefully it will snow...

@emilyrbakes

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Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson in Wonder (Photo: Rex Features)
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