The Wonders (film)

The Wonders

Film poster
Directed by Alice Rohrwacher
Produced by Carlo Cresto-Dina
Written by Alice Rohrwacher
Starring Alba Rohrwacher
André Hennicke
Monica Bellucci
Music by Piero Crucitti
Cinematography Hélène Louvart
Edited by Marco Spoletini
Release dates
  • 18 May 2014 (2014-05-18) (Cannes)
  • 22 May 2014 (2014-05-22) (Italy)
Running time
110 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

The Wonders (Italian: Le meraviglie)[2][3] is a 2014 internationally co-produced drama film directed by Alice Rohrwacher. It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival,[4][5][6] where it was awarded with the Grand Prix.[7][8]


Gelsomina and her three younger sisters live with their parents on a farm in the Italian countryside. As the eldest child, she takes on a heavier burden, taking care of her younger sisters and assisting her father with bee keeping. One day as the family is playing on the beach after a long day, they are told to quit making so much noise and discover that a short distance away a TV show is being filmed. They watch the show being filmed and, as, they are about to leave, the star of the show, Milly, calls them over and gives Gelsomina a hair clip to keep.

Watching the program they were filming on TV, Gelsomina learns that the program is launching a competition called Countryside Wonders, in which seven farmers will compete to have their products featured on the show. While her father, Wolfgang, is violently against the family competing, her mother warms to the idea, despite the fact that the standards of their honey production are not up to par.

Meanwhile, Wolfgang hires a juvenile delinquent named Martin to work on the farm. Martin never talks, thinking that he will be able to help with the honey production. Though Wolfgang tries to favor Martin, he eventually discovers that he is an ineffectual worker.

Unbeknownst to her father, Gelsomina fills out an application for her family to compete in Countryside Wonders. She forgets about the application after an old friend of her father comes to stay in the house and when, while switching out the honeycombs to put in the processor, she accidentally injures her younger sister Marinella. At the hospital, while Marinella is being stitched up, Gelsomina realizes that before they left they forgot to change the bucket which collects the processed honey, and on returning home find honey spilled over the floor. At the same time they are visited by a man from Countryside Wonders who is there to see if their production room is up to par. The children manage to clean the work area and they are allowed to compete. However, Wolfgang is infuriated by the news.

Nevertheless, the family goes to compete on the show, where they are dressed up in ridiculous garb and each contestant must plead their case in front of the judges. On TV, Wolfgang freezes and is unable to explain what makes his honey so special. However, Gelsomina steps up and, with Martin, performs a trick in which he whistles and bees crawl out of her mouth onto her face. The family loses the competition, however. Martin runs away and Gelsomina follows him but is unable to find him. On the last boat ride back to the island, she finds herself alone with Milly, who takes off her wig and gives Gelsomina a hairpin. Because they lost the competition and have no money, the family is forced to leave the farm. Before they go, they discuss leaving something behind under the floorboards in secret for someone else to discover later.



Director Alice Rohrwacher based the movie on her memories of her childhood working for her parents who were beekeepers.[9] Alice Rohrwacher stated that some parts of the film were filmed illegally, particularly the parts with the bees which they were not supposed to film for insurance purposes and which she filmed anyway on a national holiday when no one was around to stop her.[10]


The Wonders premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival to positive reviews. On review aggregator website Metacritic the film has a score of 76, indicating generally positive reviews.[11]


  1. "The Wonders". Cannes. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. "Alice Rohrwacher, che gioia andare a Cannes". Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  3. "Le meraviglie: foto e poster del film di Alice Rohrwacher in concorso a Cannes 2014". cineblog. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  4. "2014 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  5. "Cannes, "Le meraviglie" di Alice Rohrwacher in concorso". Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  6. ""Le meraviglie": il film di Alice Rohrwacher in concorso a Cannes 2014, trama e cast". Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  7. "Awards 2014 : Competition". Cannes. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  8. "Cannes: Palma d'Oro a Winter Sleep, Grand Prix a Le meraviglie". Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  9. Coppola, Sofia. "Sofia Coppola Interviews the Sisters Behind Her Favorite New Film". Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  10. Lucca, Violet. "Interview: Alice Rohrwacher". Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  11. "The Wonders". Retrieved 29 December 2015.
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