The Julia Roberts movie storming the Netflix charts
(Credit: Netflix)

Films

The Julia Roberts movie storming the Netflix charts

Having only very recently appeared in one of the streaming service’s most-watched original movies ever, Julia Roberts is back among the top ten with a completely different film, one that’s guaranteed to tug on the heartstrings of even the most cold-hearted viewer.

The Academy Award winner may have scaled back her output in recent years, but her four-year exile from cinema certainly gave off the impression that absence had made the heart grow fonder when she returned. Reuniting with Ocean’s trilogy co-star George Clooney, Ticket to Paradise was a rom-com hit that thrived on the effortless chemistry struck up by its A-list stars.

Making her Netflix debut, Roberts produced and toplined the cast of Sam Esmail’s literary adaptation Leave the World Behind, which currently sits as the platform’s fifth-biggest in-house feature of all time after hoovering up an impressive 143.4million views in its first four weeks of availability following a November 2023 premiere.

It’s one of her final films before that sabbatical currently tearing it up on the charts, though, and it’s even in line to launch the most unexpected of franchises. Co-written and directed by Stephen Chbosky and based on the novel of the same name by R.J. Palacio, Roberts and Owen Wilson play Isabel and Nate Pullman in 2017’s Wonder.

The parents of Jacob Tremblay’s Auggie, a child born with the rare genetic condition mandibulofacial dysostosis, the youngster has undergone dozens of surgeries and wears an astronaut helmet whenever he’s out in public. After being home-schooled his entire life, Isabel and Nate enrol him in a mainstream school to start the fifth grade, which gives the entire family a new lease of life.

Wonder ended up recouping its budget more than 15 times over at the global box office and earned an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Makeup and Hairstyling’, with the emotional drama overcoming its familiar message of ‘it’s what’s on the inside that counts’ thanks to some stellar performances, sharp writing, and overall sense of faithfulness to the source material.

There’s even a hybrid of prequel, sequel, and spinoff in the works, with Bryce Gheisar reprising the role of Julian alongside Gillian Anderson and Helen Mirren in Marc Forster’s White Bird, which finds his expulsion from school for the way he treated Auggie serving as the backdrop to another inspirational story after Mirren’s grandmother regales him with her own story of courage at the height of World War II.

It wasn’t the type of movie anyone pegged for a sequel, but with Wonder currently one of the ten most-watched movies on Netflix in United States, there’s evidently a lot of people out there happy for the story to continue in one form or another.