Set in Ireland following the Great Famine, the film follows English Nurse Lib (played by Pugh), who is set on a task to observe the notorious 'fasting girl', 11-year-old Anna who claims to have not eaten in four months.
The local community believe Anna is a religious miracle, while Lib's medical training tells her otherwise. Over the course of two weeks, Lib sets out to uncover the truth behind the so-called miracle, while also discovering Anna's dark history.
This one takes some unexpected turns. So, if you're in need of a recap while watching, here's a run-through of the The Wonder ending explained.
The Wonder ending explained
Throughout the film, Anna claims to be surviving solely on "manna from heaven". However, Lib eventually figures out that Anna's mother is passing her food from her mouth when she kisses her.
During one heartbreaking scene, we see Anna opening up to Lib about the reason why she chose to stop eating. Anna reveals that her old brother died, calling their relationship "double love" i.e. being both a sister and a wife, alluding to the fact that she was abused at the age of nine. Her decision to fast stems from a belief that she will be able to help her brother get into heaven rather than hell.
Lib realises that Anna's family and the local community don't actually want to intervene with her fasting, as they want to keep the idea of a religious miracle alive. The nurse then separates Anna from her family in order to stop them encouraging her fast. However, this means that Anna doesn't receive the secret food passed by her mother, causing her to quickly become frail.
Worried that Anna will die, Lib comes up with a plan to save her. After becoming close to journalist Will, Lib asks him to help her take Anna to Dublin. Lib convinces Anna that she can be reborn as 'Nan', taking her to the Holy Well where Anna closes her eyes. She then wakes up as 'Nan', and finally agrees to eat.
To cover her tracks, Lib burns down Anna's home while the family are at church. She tells the committee who employed her to watch Anna that she child died in the fire. Lib is questioned but is ultimately let go.
Then, we see her arriving in England where she reunites with Will and 'Nan'. The trio are seen boarding a boat to Sydney, Australia under fake names, and we're offered the hope that they're able to start a new life together.
Interestingly, the film then ends in the same modern-day studio where it begins. Narrator Niamh Algar (who plays Kitty) tells viewers at the beginning, "We all have our stories," thought to reflect the stories that the characters in the film convince themselves to believe.
So, there you have it. Plus, huge shoutout to Florence Pugh's northern accent, right?
The Wonder is streaming now on Netflix.
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