What is the nurse taking in The Wonder?

By Marc Miller
Published: November 18, 2022 (Last updated: January 4, 2024)

What is the nurse taking in the Netflix film The Wonder? We answer that question and delve into the story behind it. 

The film adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel, The Wonder, is a story of people putting faith in something they cannot see or hear. The Wonder takes place in the mid-1800s Irish Midlands, deeply rooted in religious zealotry and obsession. Gloria Bell director Sebastián Lelio‘s transfer to the silver screen pairs well with modern themes. Those include dark secrets, loneliness, and painful isolation. This lets the character and the viewer ruminate. Of course, when someone is exposed to trauma and left to their thoughts and devices, you may find something to numb that pain.

That leads us to the question, what is the nurse taking in The Wonder?

Who is the nurse in The Wonder?

The protagonist of The Wonder is a nurse named Lib Wright, an English nurse who has come over to Ireland to watch an 11-year-old-girl not eat. Lib is a woman of science, a trained nurse who talks about her experience treating the wounded and dying in wartime England. (There are no specific dates, but if I had to guess, she might have treated soldiers involved in The Crimean War).

So, this goes against everything she is trained to do. To observe and not treat. Why is she asked to do this? Because the young girl, Anna, claims to have not eaten food for almost four months. Lib is single, and her love interest is the film William Byrne, a reporter who lives in London but is originally from this small community.

Who plays the nurse in The Wonder?

Academy Award-nominated Actress Florence Pugh plays Lib Wright. It was announced on April 28, 2021, that Pugh would star in Sebastián Lelio’s adaptation of The Wonder. The young actor has built an impressive resume in a brief period. Besides being nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Amy March in Little Women, Pugh has starred in the streaming hits Black Widow and Hawkeye, the box office hit Fighting with My Family, the recent Don’t Worry Darling, and the critical hit, The Falling. Perhaps she is best known for Midsommar, a cult horror film by Ari Aster.

Besides The Wonder, Pugh will voice Goldilocks in the upcoming animated feature Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. The actor will also star in a trio of highly anticipated films next year. Those include A Good Person, Oppenheimer, and Dune: Part Two.

What is the nurse taking in The Wonder?

Pugh’s nurse, Lib Wright, is seen at several points taking morphine. Considering her time seeing wounded soldiers in pain and dying, we can assume that Lib uses the drug to numb her pain as a coping skill when triggered by trauma. American Addiction Centers cites why many nurses are at considerable risk for abusing drugs, with job stress being the critical factor. The drug blocks pain sensations and calms the central nervous system by lowering blood pressure, slowing the heart rate, and enhancing pleasure.

The crucial issue of morphine is essential because this is classified as an opioid, a significant problem in the United States over the past decade. When opioids are not regularly available, many will turn to heroin. Trauma carries a risk of developing substance abuse in the future.

Is The Wonder based on a true story?

The Wonder is based on Emma Donoghue’s novel of the same name. Though, Lib focuses on a young girl who claims she can live without eating. This phenomenon in the book was likely inspired by the “fasting girls” reported in the late 19th century in Victorian-era England.

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