ByRoselyn, writer at
Lover of cinema old and new, connoisseur of wit and style, and seeker of the unusual and extraordinary

The trailer for Todd Haynes's adaptation of Brian Selznick's Wonderstruck is finally here and it's as magical as promised. Set to David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and flipping back and forth between two storylines — one told in color, the other in black and white — the trailer is immediately captivating.

Wonderstruck is an all-ages movie that explores themes of childhood, family, friendship and communication. At its core is a mysterious connection between Ben (Oakes Fegley) and Rose (Millicent Simmonds), whose stories — despite being set 50 years apart — are eerily similar. Both children are deaf, both long for different lives, and both embark on quests to find what they are missing. Ben wishes to know the father he never met, while Rose seeks a mysterious actress. The movie, like the trailer, flips back and forth between their two overlapping journeys.

So, let's take a closer look at Wonderstuck's trailer in order to fully appreciate how Brian Selznick's critically acclaimed novel will be adapted to the big screen.

1927: Black And White

 Rose in 1927. 'Wonderstruck' [Credit: Amazon Studios / Roadside Attractions]
Rose in 1927. 'Wonderstruck' [Credit: Amazon Studios / Roadside Attractions]

Rose's half of the movie is completely dialogue free, and is filmed in black and white. In order to achieve this look, Rose's scenes were shot on 35mm film with antique lenses, and, as is evident in the trailer, there is a wonderful grainy quality to the film.

Presenting Rose's story as a black-and-white silent movie helps conveys to viewers what it's like to live in a world without sound. It also mimics Selznick's intricate pencil drawings, which are used to tell Rose's narrative in the novel. In addition, Rose's story deals with silent movies, so presenting her half of the movie as one seems like a perfect fit.

1977: Saturated Color

Ben in 1977. 'Wonderstruck' [Credit: Amazon Studios / Roadside Attractions]
Ben in 1977. 'Wonderstruck' [Credit: Amazon Studios / Roadside Attractions]

Ben's half of the movie is largely dialogue free, but does contain background noise. In the trailer, the only two lines of dialogue come from Ben and act as bookends, opening and closing the rest of the wordless teaser. To capture the 1970s look, Ben's scenes are shot on Kodak film from this era, which produces beautiful saturated colors.

In the novel, we learn how Ben loses his hearing, and this backstory is hinted at with the mysterious bolt of lightning and a woman running in the night. Judging by the trailer, it seems like the movie sticks very closely to Selznick's book, so fans will likely not have to worry about any undue changes.

Cabinets Of Curiosity

The Natural History Museum in New York plays a key role in both Ben and Rose's stories. In the novel, both children find their way to the museum, and it provides another piece to the puzzle of how they are connected. also touches upon the creation of the first museums, and the concepts of curation and imagination are central themes in the book. The use of museum imagery to promote the movie further proves that the movie will definitely honor the source material.

Excited to see 'Wonderstruck'? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

(Sources: Kodak)


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