Adapted by writer Emma Donaghue from her own 2016 novel of the same name, The Wonder, which is set in the Irish Midlands in 1862, follows an English nurse named Lib Wright (Pugh) who is brought to a village to observe Anna O’Donnell (Kíla Lord Cassidy), an 11-year-old girl who has allegedly survived four months without eating.
Believed to be a saint, Anna tells Lib that she doesn’t need to eat because she “live[s] on manna from heaven.” According to the Bible, manna is a type of bread that was provided to the Israelites by God. As described in the Book of Exodus, God nourished them during their travels in the desert. The Wonder is inspired by the 19th-century phenomenon where young Victorian-era girls known as “fasting girls,” who claimed to have supernatural powers, could survive long periods of time without consuming food.
In the official trailer for The Wonder, Lib and a nun are recruited to watch Anna in eight-hour shifts to see if she eats. After two weeks, both women are to present their separate testimonies as to what they witnessed. “Do you know the dangers of a prolonged fast, Anna?” Lib asks the young girl. Anna tells Lib that the manna makes her feel “full.”
In 2017, Lelio directed A Fantastic Woman, which won the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film. He went on to direct 2017’s Disobedience starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams, and 2018’s Gloria Bell starring Julianne Moore, which was a remake of his 2013 Chilean film Gloria.
The Wonder is scheduled for limited theatrical release on November 2, 2022. It will begin streaming on Netflix on November 16, 2022.