Wonka offers up the perfect Christmas treat – movie review

By Alexandra Heilbron on December 13, 2023 | Leave a Comment

Wonka starring Calah Lane and Timothée Chalamet Wonka is a magical adventure starring Timothée Chalamet as a young Willy Wonka. Introduced to the wonders of chocolate by his loving mother (Sally Hawkins), Willy grows up crafting chocolates in a wide assortment of styles, imbuing them with a variety of magical powers.

He arrives by ship in a town (name of town and even the country are indecipherable — posters on the walls of buildings are in several different languages) but having quickly gone through his money, Willy takes lodging at a rooming house, promising his landlady Mrs. Scrubbit (Olivia Colman) that he’ll be able to pay tomorrow.

When Willy shows off his wares in the town square the next day, it becomes clear very quickly that he’s not welcome. The town already has three chocolate manufacturers known collectively as the “Chocolate Cartel” and they’re not eager for more competition.

They pay off the Chief of Police (in chocolate) to make sure Willy can’t sell his goods. As it turns out, that’s what Mrs. Scrubbit was hoping for and she puts him to work in her laundry, along with other unfortunates who are unable to pay, including a tough but clever orphan named Noodle (Calah Lane).

Willy’s indomitable spirit doesn’t allow him to give up, so he gets together with Noodle and the two of them conspire to get Willy’s chocolates made. There are plenty of catchy musical numbers, including “A World of Our Own,” and the story is an adventure that will especially appeal to children, with hidden passages, a trip to a zoo to get help from a giraffe, and magic galore.

Chalamet plays Wonka in a sprightly manner, and although he’s not a dancer, his singing is pleasant and his acting is superb. Keegan-Michael Key is entertaining as the corrupt police officer who packs on the pounds as the Cartel continues to give him ridiculous amounts of chocolate for his misdeeds, while Olivia Colman is the landlady you want to hate, but can’t quite, because of the glimmer of mischief in her eyes. Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter plays Abacus Crunch, one of Willy’s fellow launderers who winds up being an ally to the young chocolate maker, while Mr. Bean’s Rowan Atkinson plays a small role as a corrupt priest.

The entire cast is stellar, and this movie is one you’ll want to take your children to this Christmas holiday season. ~Alexandra Heilbron

4.5 out of 5 stars.

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