“Wonder Wheel” surprisingly uninteresting


It’s been a while since I have left a movie theater feeling disappointed, but “Wonder Wheel” had just that affect on me. Produced by Amazon Studios and written by Woody Allen, the movie seemed to be on a path to success, but unfortunately, it veered off due to the plot.

To make a long story short, the plot revolves around a poor family living on Coney Island during the 1950s. The husband, Humpty (Jim Belushi) works as a carousel operator who is married to Ginny (Kate Winslet), a waitress at the local clam diner. Their lives are mediocre until Humpty’s estranged daughter, Carolina (Juno Temple) returns home five years after eloping with a gangster. Carolina hopes to hide from the gangsters on her tail, meanwhile getting a job alongside Ginny and attending night school. Carolina’s return eventually forces the revelation of Ginny’s affair with Mickey (Justin Timberlake), a young lifeguard on the island. Since the entire story is oddly narrated by Mickey, the audience knows about the affair before the remaining characters do. The situation goes downhill when Mickey meets Carolina and starts to forget about Ginny. Ginny notices Mickey’s increasing disinterest in her and starts suspecting his feelings toward Carolina. This only aggravates Ginny’s already irritated lifestyle, and soon she’s falling off the wagon.

I’m not sure if this movie would have been better if the characters had been developed well or not, because I think the major flaw was in the plot. It seemed as though the story was incomplete. ‘Show don’t tell’ seemed to be a foreign concept since the characters basically narrated their entire pasts during random dialogue in the scenes. There was really no beginning or end to the movie, and I felt extremely unsatisfied when the credits started rolling. Not only that, but I felt like I didn’t understand the characters at all. Their decisions seemed irrational and inconsistent with their apparent personalities, so everything came off as jumbled.

Acting wise, everyone was pretty good. I was immediately turned off by Belushi because he seemed to only act well during the scenes in which he was angry. Otherwise, both Winslet and Timberlake did an incredible job whether it came to facial expressions and emotional outbursts. Temple was a new face to me, but she did a great job within her underdeveloped character’s boundaries. Aesthetic wise, the movie was great. The lighting changed as the mood shifted, and the vibrant colors of Coney Island were vivid throughout.

Overall, if you’re looking for something pretty to watch, I’d go with this movie, but when it comes to an even semi-interesting storyline, I’d go for something like “La La Land.”