The True Adventures of Wolfboy Evaluation: Jaeden Martell shines in a touching story of acceptance
The True Adventures of Wolfboy is a moving coming-of-age story about acceptance in a cruel and exploitative world. As a teenager, Jaeden Martell played with hypertrichosis, a condition that causes excessive hair growth all over the body. His canine appearance is the subject of constant ridicule; what left him introverted and self-loathed. The film takes him on a journey of understanding. He encounters a variety of strange characters. They help him make peace with the things he cannot change.
The real adventures of Wolfboyopens on a festive carnival. Paul (Jaeden Martell) is forced by his father Denny (Chris Messina) to attend his thirteenth birthday. He wears a ski mask to hide the shame on his hairy face. Denny asks him to remove it. He wants his son to learn self-confidence. Paul is viciously mocked by his schoolmates. They hunt him down while hurling hateful insults. He refuses to tell his father their names.
That night Paul receives a package in the mail. It is a wrapped gift from his mother, who left him and his father at birth. She sent a map to her location in Pennsylvania. Paul hides it from his father. He reacts furiously when Denny hands him a uniform with a green embroidered blazer. Paul doesn’t want to go to a school for “special” children. He locks himself in his room and then decides to take a drastic step. Paul runs away to find his mother. His search for answers will be more illuminating than he ever imagined.
Wolfboy’s true adventures use an element of creative fantasy to move the plot forward. Each scene is preceded by a medieval painting that shows a wolf man interacting with various magical creatures. They mark the unique supporting characters he meets on his road trip. Some are vicious, like John Turturro’s diabolical ringmaster. Others become dear friends who show kindness and sympathy to a lonely boy. Transgender actress Sophie Giannamore is absolutely brilliant here. She plays a “mermaid” whose mother refuses to accept her sexuality. The meaning of the work of art is explained in a well-made climax. All aspects of the film are wonderfully brought together in a poetic thread.
Growing up is never easy. The formative teenage years are difficult even in the best of circumstances. Now imagine that you are a kid covered in shaggy hair from head to toe. Jaeden Martell portrays Paul with a deep sense of longing. A life of mockery has suppressed his true feelings. He explodes in anger when his frustration reaches its limits. But he’s just as grateful for every new moment of joy. Martell does not allow the character to become a spectacle ruled by anger.
Wolfboy’s true adventures are never preaching, condescending, or melodramatic. It is a parable of the ancient Golden Rule. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. It doesn’t matter what you look like. Everyone deserves love and respect. The film conveys this message in an artistic, thoughtful way. The True Adventures of Wolfboy is a Big Indie Pictures and K Period Media production. It will be available on request and digitally from Vertical Entertainment on October 30th.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or position of Movieweb.
Film critic, writer, prays dolphins will grow their thumbs and do better.