“Wonderland” is an intimate portrait of three generations of one family during a weekend in London. As boisterous “Bonfire Night” celebrations are held in the chilly November weather, the family members and those closest to them strive to find love and fulfillment in their day-to-day lives.
The mother and father are marooned in a loveless marriage, both hurt by the estrangement of their youngest child. The eldest daughter is a hard-partying hairdresser, separated from her ne’er-do-well husband while raising their son. Then there is Nadia, a lonely café waitress looking for love through the personals. And Molly, the youngest, in a committed relationship with her boyfriend, is expecting their first child imminently. Each is struggling with loneliness and a yearning to fill a void in their lives.
While the story deals with universal concerns – love, loss, mortality, parenting, and a yearning for contentment – it does so in a depressing and nonspiritual manner. These irreverent characters don’t appear to be a family that owns a Bible, let alone reads one. Filmed with harsh, natural light, using a roving camera and visual trickery such as slow motion and sped-up photography, this grimy portrait of a blue-collar English clan is so rife with strife that I questioned why anyone would want to see it. “Wonderland” may appeal to those who receive pleasure from Jerry Springer-type outlandishness, where satisfaction is garnered by viewing lives more unsettled than their own. But those seeking Biblical solutions to family struggles may find this film unsatisfying.