This is movie time. The days may be darker earlier, and cold too, but inside the theater, it’s light and warm. Perfect for movies.

Perfect for movies and every so often a movie, that is right. Right for the moment. Right for 113 minutes.

We saw “Wonder” last week. Sometimes it’s better to have no expectations. That way you can be charmed from the moment you collapse into the comfortable seat until the credits roll and the audience claps.

Not everybody will see “Wonder” this way. “Not everybody” will raise their eyebrows and lower the boom. “Not everybody” will say the movie is too sappy, too scripted and too manipulative.

“Not everybody” may want to relax. We may have never needed “too” more. Every year has rough moments and 2017 has had its share of turbulence.

A movie with a happy ending, no matter how sappy, can calm and be just the right medicine.

I could say they don’t make movies like “Wonder” anymore, this one starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay and Mandy Patinkin, but I don’t think it’s accurate.

They make movies like this — heartwarming, moving, uplifting and funny — and when they do, the movies find an audience because people are looking for characters who overcome obstacles because perhaps then, they can too.

“They,” in this case, included a theater filled with older people, young parents, teenagers and children under 10. All have come up against it. If they haven’t, they will. It’s nice to have a blueprint for succeeding against steep odds, even if the blueprint is a fictional one.

I won’t ruin the plot by giving too much information but here is what you are getting into: August "Auggie" Pullman is a fifth-grader living in North River Heights in upper Manhattan. He has a rare medical facial condition and a cleft palate. Because he’s had a million surgeries, and his face is less than perfect, Auggie has been home-schooled by his mother.

His parents decide to enroll him in Beecher Prep, a private school, for the start of middle school. That’s when the movie starts. The movie and the agony and the ecstasy.

New school? Don’t like the way you look? Feel like an outcast? Most of us have been there if not in a school then in a job, a new city or a get-together where we may not know anybody.

In these situations, often the uncomfortable ones, we can get a glimpse of who we are. Underneath the scars or the skin that is smooth as silk, people are ideas. Either good ideas or bad ideas. Sometimes both.

The school that Auggie attends is named in honor of clergyman and social reformer Henry Ward Beecher, who said, "He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.”

“Whose strength carries up the most hearts.” This is a good idea. Now or 100 years from now.

November is movie time. In the late afternoons, it can be cool and dark. Cool, dark and perfect.

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at or 661-395-7279.

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