Wonka first reactions call the film a “delightfully sweet treat” with an “exceptional” performance from Timothée Chalamet

Timothée Chalamet in Wonka
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

First reactions for Wonka have hit the internet, and they’re overwhelmingly positive.  

Written and directed by Paddington’s Paul King, the film follows a young Willy Wonka on his journey to becoming a world-famous chocolatier, from his conflicts with rival candymen to how he came to meet the Oompa-Loompas. 

With a star-studded cast led by Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka, alongside British treasures Hugh Grant, Olivia Colman, Rowan Atkinson, Sally Hawkins, Matt Lucas, and Mathew Baynton, it comes as no surprise to hear the movie is a success, but judging by first reactions it looks like King's flick has gone above and beyond, exceeding everyone's expectations.

Following the premiere on November 28, critics took to social media to express their thoughts on King’s latest creation. Griffin Schiller, the host of FilmSpeak, tweeted: “Wonka is the family event of the holiday season. A charming, delightful, whimsical tale of dreamers and the system that restricts them. King WONDERFULLY channels Dahl's cheeky disdain for the elite that enhances the enigma of Wonka while standing confidently on its own. A winner!”

Despite praise for the creator, it seems that there was one name leaving a sweet taste in everyone’s mouths as critics have been singing Chalamet’s praises since the screening. “Wonka is a super charming delight powered by an exceptional and pitch-perfect performance from Timothée Chalamet. It can get quite silly and there’s a few plot points that are a tad on the thin side, but that couldn’t stop such an impossibly sweet film with a hefty and very effective dose of sincerity from warming my heart”, writes Collider's Perri Nemiroff.

“Wonka is an instant holiday classic and a truly magical time at the movies.” echoed movie critic Zoë Rose Bryant. “Paul King’s whimsical style works as well here as it did in Paddington, every musical number enchants, and the entire ensemble takes turns stealing the show, led by an endlessly charming Timothée Chalamet.”

And what of the other cast members? “Hugh Grant steals every scene he's in. Keegan Michael-Key was under-utilized. Don't go into this movie w/o buying chocolate!” tweets Wendy Lee Szany. The Hugh Grant love train continues as Variety writer Courtney Howard shares “Hugh Grant in exceptional IDGAF mode.”

Forbes Journalist Simon Thompson adds “while Paul King's Wonka doesn't quite reach the charming and beguiling heights of the Paddington movies, it is still a delightfully sweet treat. Timothée Chalamet's titular dandy is endearing and fun while Hugh Grant's Oompa-Loompa steals every scene he is in.”

Check out some more reactions below… 

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Wonka hits theaters on December 8, 2023. For more on Wonka, read our exclusive interview with writer-director Paul King.Thirsty for more films? Check out all of the best upcoming movies heading your way in 2023 and beyond.

Editorial Associate, GamesRadar+

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for SFX and Total Film online. I have a Bachelors Degree in Media Production and Journalism and a Masters in Fashion Journalism from UAL. In the past I have written for local UK and US newspaper outlets such as the Portland Tribune and York Mix and worked in communications, before focusing on film and entertainment writing. I am a HUGE horror fan and in 2022 I created my very own single issue feminist horror magazine.