Wolf Children review

Wait, come back! This isn’t your typical werewolf story! Watch the trailer!

Briefly, Hana is in college and meets a mysterious young man. They fall in love, and he reveals his secret to her. They have two children, named Ame and Yuki. But then…

Mamoru Hosoda’s Wolf Children is an emotional film that every parent will identify with, even if your children aren’t mythic wolven hybrids. There are whole scenes in the movie in which I literally forgot to breathe.

Of course, having werewolf children does pose a few practical issues, like where do you go for medical care? Can your children go to school? What happens if one of them gets into a fight and transforms in the schoolyard? How do you explain their vaccination record to social services?

OK, good, now do all that as a single mother. Raise your special children, with their vulnerabilities and the threat of society simply destroying them. Keep it together as they face danger, and decide their paths in life.

Many other themes overlap. How do humans and nature relate? Is “Be yourself” really always good advice? How much conformity is right? How do you balance? How do you handle grief? When your survival is in doubt, can you trust your neighbors? Do you have a choice?

The visual storytelling in this film is breathtaking. And despite the fairy tale subject matter, strangely universal.

I looked at 15 reviews of the movie, rejecting 13 of them outright. This one expertly reveals themes of the film, its cinematic stye, and is good to watch either before (spoilers!) or after you see the film itself. It answers why this film just stays in your mind after seeing it.

NOTES:

  • Mamoru Hosoda has directed a ton of great films including ‘Girl Who Lept Through Time’, ‘Summer Wars’, ‘Mirai’, and more.
  • There’s a controversial scene where Hana and the wolf guy take their relationship to the next level. It’s brief and not graphic, but seemed to trouble a lot of reviewers.
  • As usual, Wikipedia has a really good detail article on this film.
  • I’m normally an insufferable snob about watching foreign films in the original language, and just reading the subtitles, because you know, voice acting. But the English voice actors did a really good job so I won’t look down on you if you watch it in English dub just this once.
  • Is Hana too saintly? I don’t know, if she she were average, would she have married a werewolf?
  • It’s true I “looked at” 15 reviews of this film, but only a few did I watch all the way through. Some of them managed to get themselves rejected in less than a minute.

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georgewiman

Older technology guy with photography and history background