Starring Timothée Chalamet, Calah Lane, and Keegan-Michael Key
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Running time: 116 minutes
Rated PG for some violence, mild language, and thematic elements.

Author’s note: This review contains spoilers.

Growing up, I didn’t have much interest in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or in any of the various adaptations made over the years. A kid motivated primarily by chocolate wasn’t relatable or attention-grabbing for me, and the mysterious chocolatier who owned the factory and employed small, singing orange men with green hair seemed weird and, well, a bit creepy.

So, I was hesitant to check out Wonka, the musical origin story of that colorful, yet strange sweet maker. But when the trailers indicated that the film would be a feel-good story about pursuing one’s dreams, I decided to give it a chance—and I’m glad I did. The movie is not only full of joyful songs, laugh-out-loud moments, and appropriately vivid colors, but it also presents Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) as an entrepreneurial hero.

He moves to a big city, poor but determined to sell his chocolate, which he’s perfected over several years of experimenting with rare ingredients collected from all over the world. Brimming with optimism, benevolence, and a touch of naïveté, he sings that he’s arrived with “a hatful of dreams” and the belief that “in this city anyone can be successful, if they’ve talent and work hard.”1 And work hard he must to overcome the various obstacles that follow—ranging from being tricked by a dishonest innkeeper (Olivia Coleman) into signing a terrible contract to outright sabotage plotted by his competitors. But Wonka never loses his positive view of people or his determination to pursue his goals. He finds creative ways to sell his chocolate—even as his competitors forcibly try to block him from entering the market. His perseverance alone makes him an inspiring character.

But Wonka is also a genuine innovator. . . .

Despite some confusion about greed, Wonk is a joyful film that celebrates innovation, entrepreneurship, and win-win relationships. If you’re looking for a fun movie to enjoy this holiday season, @WonkaMovie is a great pick.
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1. Joby Talbot and Neil Hannon, “A Hatful of Dreams,” Genius Lyrics, accessed December 11, 2023,

2. Talbot and Hannon, “A World of Your Own.”

3. Talbot and Hannon, “A World of Your Own.”

4. In the Bible, Jesus’s disciple Judas sells out the supposed Savior for thirty pieces of silver.

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