The Wonder on Netflix is set in 1862 and follows a nurse named Elizabeth “Lib” Wright (Florence Pugh) as she travels to a remote village in Ireland from England. She is tasked with observing a local girl who claims to have not eaten food in four months. As she investigates, she comes across a dark secret.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Elizabeth “Lib” Wright, is an English Nightingale Nurse who is summoned to a remote village in 1862 Ireland. She served in the Crimean War but is now tasked with the petty job of keeping watch over a local girl named Anna O’Donnell.
Her family states that she hasn’t eaten in four months and is surviving on manna from heaven. The religious lot also asks for a nun to observe Anna, so Sister Michael is called to assist Lib.
The two are instructed to not confer and watch the girl for two weeks, following which, they are to present their respective findings to to a council comprising Doctor McBrearty, parish priest Father Thaddeus, town elder Sir Otway and local landlord John Flynn.
Lib goes to the O’Donnell house (Located on the outskirts of the village) and introduces herself to Anna’s family — elder sister Kitty, mother Rosaleen and father Malachy.
She then meets Anna and is skeptical about the whole situation. Lib finds out that the Anna gets a lot of visitors from everywhere, who want to witness the miracle of the fasting girl. Later, the nurse also finds out that the O’Donnells had an eldest son who perished.
Back in her room at the local pub, Lib seems to be dealing with her own demons as she sedates herself every night before sleeping and plays with a pair of baby stockings.
There, she meets William Byrne, a local journalist from the Daily Telegraph. He is supposed to cover Anna’s story and expresses that the whole thing is a sham.
As Lib continues to spend time with Anna, she is unable to find any evidence to support William’s claim. The nurse and the girl develop a cordial relationship, with the former giving her new friend a nickname, Nan.
Anna carries on with her religious practices and often speaks about the fate of the damned in hell. Lib starts believing the girl’s story, much to the shock of William, who is now sexually involved with the nurse.
Later, Lib speaks to Kitty and discovers that William and her were close once, but he was sent away to school as his parents died in the great famine of Ireland.
The Wonder ending explained in detail:
Does Lib discover the truth?
While watching Anna, Lib discovers that her family prays with her every night before bed, and her mother kisses her mouth towards the end. This comes across as suspicious and Lib tells everyone to stay away from the girl until further notice.
She gets a lot of flack from the council for her actions, but Lib stands firm on her decision. Unfortunately, Anna’s condition starts to worsen and William writes an article, blaming the girl’s family and the community for her condition.
Hell bent on saving Anna, Lib tries to force feed her using a tube, but stops when she outrightly declines. Her father expresses that Anna made him promise to not ask her to eat, and refuses to intervene.
Eventually, Lib deduces that Rosaleen has been transferring chewed food into Anna’s mouth every night during prayer, that’s why she kissed her before bed.
What is Anna’s secret?
When Lib confronts Anna with this information, the latter comes clean about her story. Her late brother used to constantly rape her under the guise of being married to her. He later died of a mysterious illness.
Anna’s mother held her responsible for the death, forcing the girl to believe that by giving her her own life, she would free her brother’s damned soul.
Lib meets the council and reveals her findings, however, no one believes her. Furthermore, Sister Michael refuses to have seen what Lib accuses Rosaleen of.
As nothing can be proved, Father Thaddeus tells the dying Anna that he will offer her a mass the next night. In a private conversation, Lib reveals to Rosaleen that she lost her only child shortly after it was born and begs her to spare Anna’s life.
However, she gets nothing in return as Rosaleen claims that Anna is a miracle chosen by God.
Does Lib save Anna?
Frustrated with not being heard and desperate to save the girl, Lib comes up with a plan with William. When everyone is at mass, Lib tricks a brainwashed Anna into believing that she may die, but she will be reborn as Nan.
She takes her to a nearby Holy well where Anna seems to perish. However, she wakes up believing herself to be Nan and Lib feeds her. The nurse then returns to the house and sets fire to it, burning her baby’s stockings and sedatives as well.
After sustaining minor burns in the process, Lib meets with the council and lets them know that Anna died of natural causes. She then accidentally knocked over a lamp that started the fire and Anna’s body got incinerated in it.
After a little argument, Lib is let go but isn’t paid. She has an interaction with Sister Michael who reveals that she left the mass early and saw a vision of a man and young girl leaving on horseback.
Lib travels to Dublin and meets William along with a now recovered Nan. The trio boards the ship as the Cheshire family and set sail to Sydney.