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May 19, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

Director Todd Haynes’s Wonderstruck successfully struck wonder in the eyes of most critics as it opened Thursday as the first film screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Several of those critics predicted that it will also be among next year’s Oscar contenders. “Wonderstruck Stakes Oscar Claim” headlined Gregg Kilday’s review in the Hollywood Reporter. Entertainment Weekly’s headline read, “Cannes reactions position Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck as early Oscar contender.” However, USA Today‘s Patrick Ryan, while also commenting that the film is likely to receive Oscar nods, observed that at the morning press screening, a “number of audience members … were spotted sleeping, and the film earned only polite applause as credits rolled, despite enthusiastic reviews from critics.” One of the most enthusiastic was Stephanie Zacharek’s in Time magazine, who wrote: “Wonderstruck embraces so many shimmery, evanescent ideas, it’s a marvel that any one picture—let alone one you can take your kids to—can hold them.” And IndieWire‘s David Ehrlich concluded: “This is a soul-stirring and fiercely uncynical film that suggests the entire world is a living museum for the people we’ve lost, and that we should all hope to leave some of ourselves behind in its infinite cabinet of wonders.” Fourteen-year-old deaf actress Millicent Simmonds was singled out by many critics for her performance, with many predicting that she could become the first deaf Oscar winner since Marlee Matlin was awarded the statue for 1986’s Children of a Lesser God. Haynes’s previous film, Carol, also received splendid reviews when it debuted at Cannes two years ago (a lesbian love story, it was not the kind of movie you’d take your kids to). It won no awards at the festival, however, and although it received multiple Oscar nominations last year, Haynes and his colleagues went home empty-handed. And Oscar nominations for Wonderstruck are by no means assured. Several critics gave it mediocre reviews, including Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman, who wrote that the movie “has an aura of unusual innocence for a Todd Haynes movie. But innocence isn’t the same thing as artistic virtue. Wonderstruck is a movie that literally tries to add up, piece by piece, into a fully assembled puzzle of greatness, but the puzzle is less than transporting because you can still see all the seams.” Wonderstruck is a co-production of Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions and is scheduled to be released in theaters in North America on October 20th in order to allow it to qualify for Oscar awards, before Amazon makes it available for streaming.