Kevin Mazur/amfAR/Getty Images for amfAR
Mike Miller
November 14, 2017 09:00 AM

Julia Roberts is asking people to be kinder to one another, saying criticism has become like a “sport.”

The actress, 50, who plays the mother of a child with craniofacial differences in her new movie Wonder, spoke about being less judgmental as a culture in the Dec. issue of Good Housekeeping alongside the film’s director, Stephen Chbosky, and author R.J. Palacio.

“I think we need to stop criticizing,” Roberts said. “Honestly, it’s become a sport — at lunch, online, wherever. ‘I can’t believe the way she’s wearing her hair,’ or ‘He looks so…’ It’s all so petty, and we’re grown-up people.”

She added, “There have to be more interesting things to note about one another … and I’m talking to myself here too, because I find the sarcasm and the criticism and stuff like that very humorous, but there’s a time when you go, ‘Well, why don’t I say all the true and kind things.’ “

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The film, based on the best-selling book by Palacio, tells the story of a boy, played by Room star Jacob Tremblay, who has facial differences and strives to be treated the same as his peers as he begins the year at a new school.

Roberts related the story to her own children while explaining the difference between unconditional love and spoiling a child. “I think some people confuse unconditional love with spoiling,” she explained.

(L-R) R.J. Palacio, Julia Roberts and Stephen Chbosky
Robert Trachtenberg

“None of my kids would think I have a problem with that distinction. I do love them unconditionally, and I try, when they do something wrong, to say, ‘This doesn’t change the amount of love in this house for you, but you’ve got to do your homework.’ Because I think that also makes a child feel safe,” she added.

Roberts also revealed that she got involved with the film after reading it as a bedtime story to her three children, twins Hazel and Phinnaeus, 13, and Henry, 10.

“It was getting tricky in my house to have a nighttime chapter book everyone would like, so I bought Wonder, and I could not put it down. I read it to the three kids , and they were all as knocked out as I had been,” she said. “I remember calling my agent after I read the book and saying, ‘I’ll play the mom!’ ”

Wonder hits theaters Nov. 17.

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