Recap: ‘The Wonder’ on Netflix

In The Wonder, a young Irish nurse is summoned to minister to the sick during the Great Famine. While traveling for days over rough terrain, Lib (Florence Pugh) endures torrential rains and climbs aboard a horse-drawn cart only to find herself in the smallest town imaginable — where everybody knows each other.

She has made it her mission to visit the O’Donnells and examine Anna, an 11-year-old girl who says she hasn’t eaten for four months. However, according to Anna’s family members, at no time in that period did they see her eat anything except a mysterious manna from heaven.

Many people in the village think Anna’s survival is a miracle, and others aren’t so sure — so Lib must determine whether there was something miraculous about it before it’s too late.

In Lelio’s psychological drama, you may find yourself suspending your disbelief to question not only the ethics and spirituality of the characters but also Florence Pugh’s nuanced performance. Visiting pilgrims call Anna a Wonder, but Lib begins to notice that the people who should care most about her health don’t seem to be doing so.

Emma Donoghue’s novel was the basis for the film and inspired her to write the story after learning about Fasting Girls — Irish women and girls in the 19th century who claimed to live solely on faith after going for months without food.

It’s this feeling of being trapped between her professional life and Anna’s problems that lead Lib to take matters into her own hands, but one that reveals the deep care she feels for Anna when Lib’s behaviors tend to cross patient boundaries.

The conflict between religious belief and scientific fact drives much of the narrative in The Wonder.