Reshaping New York City: The Child Gaze in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck (2017)

  • Andrés Buesa Universidad de Zaragoza


This article looks at Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck and explores the ways in which New York, as a cinematic city, is reshaped in the film through the eyes of children. Given the rich intertextual links that can be traced in  Wonderstruck, the article situates the cinematic New York alluded to by the film—the city of the late 20s and the 70s—as a metropolis characterised by alienation. The child’s gaze, in its unregulated and sensorial way of looking at the world, is argued to transform this image of an alienated New York into a rehumanised version of the city. Drawing on textual analysis, the article contends that New York is thus mapped, both literal and metaphorically, as a living entity and a place defined by the subjective experience of its people. In this process, the film negotiates the constructive links between urbanity and sense of place.

Author Biography

Andrés Buesa, Universidad de Zaragoza
Andrés Buesa is a PhD candidate in Film Studies at the University of Zaragoza. His thesis explores the use of the cinematic child, in 21st century world cinema, as a vehicle for discourses on contemporary mobility. He has forthcoming work to be published on the journal Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas (2023) and on Routledge’s edited collection Embodying VulnerAbilities in Literature and Film (2023).


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