The True Adventures of Wolfboy has a title that will make audiences think of a family friendly adventure. There certainly is some of that to be found, but director Martin Krejci’s film is more of a modern day fairy tale. It has the familiar themes of friendship. family, and self acceptance, but it is wrapped in a fantastic story that fits the title.
Paul (Jaden Martell) has a rare skin condition called congenital hypertrichosis. He grows hair all over his face and body. This makes it very difficult for him to make friends. One day, he receives a gift that sends him on a search for his mother. The makeup is obviously a big part of The True Adventures of Wolfboy. If it does not look good, then the movie does not really work. In this case, the effects pass the heavy scrutiny. Paul does not ever look like a person wearing a wolfman mask. He is a boy with feelings.
Martell does an excellent job as Paul. What makes the performance so great is Martell mainly gets emotion across through his eyes. Paul’s face is hidden throughout the entire movie. Since he is ashamed of all his hair, Paul also wears a ski mask that covers his face. Martell makes it possible for the audience to get into his character.
The True Adventures of Wolfboy is a road trip movie in the vein of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Paul meets fantastic characters on his journey who tried to help or hinder him on his way to find his mother. Each segment is divided into chapters, complete with title cards. It adds to the storybook quality of the film and it helps it stand out as more than just another coming of age movie.
The movie also has odd moments of maturity. There is a transgender girl who callously talks about how she would murder her mother, for example. The message – much like it is for the rest of The True Adventures of Wolfboy – is about acceptance. Still, one cannot help as positive as the sentiment is, the statement feels out of place in the movie.
Paul’s loving father (Chris Messina) who does not know how to help his son is handled much better. He may seem like a surface deep character, but his decision to enroll his son at a fancy private school shows the depth of the writing. The True Adventures of Wolfboy deals with the difficulty of a child trying to fit in very well. This deals with the same topic but is handled with more sensitivity.
Family friendly movies usually teach a lesson about self-acceptance. The True Adventures of Wolfboy is no different. The road trip elements of the story allow Paul to meet the fantastic characters to be expected in this type of story. It also offers an imaginative tale that makes some missteps along the way, but is a worthwhile watch.
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