I was, alas, not wonderstruck by “Wonderstruck,” Todd Haynes’s ambitious but inert movie based on Brian Selznick’s adaptation of his 2011 novel.
It’s about a 12-year-old boy (Oakes Fegley) and a 12-year-old girl (Millicent Simmonds) whose stories are told contrapuntally 50 years apart, his in the vibrantly colored New York City of 1977, hers in the black-and-white New York of 1927. Both children are deaf – she from birth, he after being struck by lightning – and their fates interwine in New York’s American Museum of Natural History. (Simmonds, unlike Fegley, is actually deaf.)
It’s the sort of poetic conceit that needs a filmmaker far more rapt and intuitive than Haynes, whose jeweler’s precision keeps everything at an emotional remove. Grade: C (Rated PG for thematic elements and smoking.)