Review: ‘The True Adventures of Wolfboy’ is a whimsical lesson in life and self acceptance.

 

Paul lives an isolated life with his father in upstate New York. He finds making friends impossible due to a rare condition he has known as congenital hypertrichosis – an affliction that causes an abnormal amount of hair growth all over his face and body. On his 13th birthday, Paul receives a mysterious gift that compels him to run away and seek out the mother he has never known.

The True Adventures of Wolfboy will tap into something deep down inside the viewer. This film manages to be both one of the most emotionally impactful and one of the most whimsical films of the year. Told in chapters like a 19th-century fairytale epic, Paul is our flawed and fragile hero. While tortured for his hypertrichosis, a condition that causes uncontrollable facial hair growth, Paul is battling a father that tries desperately to build his confidence, a mother who abandoned him, on top of unfathomable cruelty from his peers. In an act of defiance and peak frustration, he leaves his home on a journey that will shape the way he perceives himself and those around for the rest of his life. Encountering a number of other misfits, all with a story and past that teaches Paul bravery, acceptance, boldness, and compassion.  The chase between police and Paul is on. The shenanigans along the way will amaze you. The True Adventures of Wolfboy is pure delight.

John Turturro as Mr. Silk is a masterclass. Like every one of his roles, he is a chameleon. He is slyly one of the evilest characters we’ve seen in quite some time. It’s the nuance that makes this performance so incredible. He is a representation of all that is negative and manipulative about the real world. Chris Messina as Paul’s father is a beautiful anchor. His care for this role is evident from the very beginning. Eve Hewson is a firecracker. Her shocking energy makes you smile wider than you thought possible. Sophie Giannamore is a wonder. She is the very person Paul needed to meet for innumerable reasons. Her chemistry with Jaeden Martell is electric. The ease with which she handles the dramatic and lovely nature of her character is perfection. Jaeden Martell is Paul. His quiet strength and vulnerable nature let us live in his shoes. I’ve seen every one of his roles and he is a star. His ability to breathe life into Paul allows the audience to sit back and let Martell take their anxiety and run with it. He represents the outsider we all felt like we were in some form or another.

It’s visually splendid, from the circus colors, the lush costumes, each character having a stand out color pop. And then, there are the chapter illustrations. They are gasp-worthy gorgeous. The brilliant combination of Olivia Dufault’s screenplay, DP Andrew Droz Palermo‘s camera work, Aaron Osborne’s production design, Donna Zakowska‘s thoughtful costumes, and director Martin Krejcí overall vision make for a stunning and important lesson in 2020. Not only does it serve as a lesson, but it endlessly entertaining. The True Adventures of Wolfboy is a film we can all get behind right now.

Available On-Demand & Digital Friday, October 30

Directed by:

Martin Krejcí

Written by:

Olivia Dufault

Produced by:

Kimberly Steward, Josh Godfrey, Lauren Beck, Declan Baldwin, Benjamin Blake

Starring:

Jaeden Martell, Chris Messina, Eve Hewson, Michelle Wilson, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Sophie Giannamore, Chloë Sevigny, John Turturro

Rating:

PG-13

Run Time:

88 Minutes

Review: Kevin McMullin’s ‘Low Tide’ is a successful teen noir.

LOW TIDE

In the long days of summer in a beach town on the New Jersey shore, high schooler Alan (Keean Johnson) and his friends Red (Alex Neustaedter) and Smitty (Daniel Zolghadri) break into vacation homes to steal valuables, funding dates at the boardwalk and lunches at the burger stand. When Alan and his younger brother Peter (Jaeden Martell) find a bag of gold coins, they try to hide them from the others — but Red, suspicious and violently unpredictable, seems willing to do anything to get the money.

This teen thriller is so well written and acted that the foreboding behinds immediately and never lets up. Nothing good can come of white boy rage and resentment. But a whole lot of great can come from a brilliant young cast of this caliber. Jaeden Martell is captivating as younger boy scout brother Alan. There is something truly special about this young man’s ability to fill a frame with a powerful silence. Older, sort of ne’er do well brother played by Keean Johnson is a dynamic foil for Martell. Fueled by equal parts passion and pride, he inadvertently puts both boys’ lives in jeopardy. The other two young men that keep these brothers deeply mired in danger are complete opposites of one another. Daniel Zolghadri gives a phenomenal performance as Smitty, playing somewhere between a mob rat and a boy who is terrified to feel rejected. The fourth and certainly most brutal of the bunch is Red. Alex Neustaedter utilizes a physical and emotional volatility that is truly unsettling. You will keep one eye on him at all times because you know nothing good can come of his angry townie attitude. These four boys try to avoid getting caught robbing summer tourists but deceit leads the group down a deadly path. Writer-Director Kevin McMullin has crafted a real thriller. The cinematography is beautiful. Existing in a time driven by greed and favoring the elite, Low Tide proves that human nature reveals its flaws just as easily among children as it does adults. This film undoubtedly brings unsettling intrigue and true noir.

Written and Directed by: Kevin McMullin
Produced by: Brendan McHugh, Kevin Rowe, Richard Peete, Rian Cahill, and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones 
Starring: Keean Johnson, Jaeden Martell, Alex Neustaedter, Daniel Zolghadri, Kristine Froseth, Shea Whigham

Distributed by A24 and DIRECTV
Run Time: 86 Minutes
Rated R for language, some violence and teen drug use