The True Adventures of Wolfboy (Fantastic Fest 2019)

The True Adventures of Wolfboy (Fantastic Fest 2019) Cover

I couldn’t help but think about 2017’s charming flick, Wonder, when starting The True Adventures of Wolfboy. Both protagonists are young boys who feel ugly, lonely, and unaccepted because of how they look different from other people. However, the story quickly becomes its own unique tale and it was engaging, relatable, and heartfelt.

Paul (Jaeden Martell) is a thirteen year old who has hypertrichosis, a condition which causes him to have an excess amount of hair all over his body, including his face. Paul is bullied at school because of this, with the kids going as far as to say that Paul’s dad must have had sex with an animal. The identity of Paul’s mother has been a complete mystery until one day Paul receives an invitation to come meet her. After getting into an argument with his father, Paul runs away from home, taking us on an intriguing adventure to locate his mom.

Paul is a likeable character and the setup of the film is told in a compelling manner. There’s enough terrible things that happen to Paul that you wish he could catch a break. It’s also a film all audiences should be able to relate to on some level, as every person has at some point experienced the struggle of being bullied or at least felt unaccepted by those around them. Additionally, our protagonist feels real; he cops an attitude with his father, is unfiltered like a regular teenager, and his motivation for doing what he does feels sincere. The dialogue written for this character was realistic, as I could hear a teenager spouting the words that he uses with his father and those that he meets. Jaeden Martell carries the film with a performance that conveys much emotion despite having a face full of hair.

The pacing doesn’t necessarily slow down in the middle portion of the film, but it meanders in a direction that I didn’t expect. Paul befriends a transgender girl and then another girl who initites a series of petty thefts. These scenes slowly build and shape character, but for awhile I had the sense of, “Where is this going? I want to see Paul get to his mom’s or build upon the mythology presented to us in the interesting setup of the film.” Ultimately, this section of scenes is fine but they are the weakest part of the movie.

Luckily, the film delivers on an effective climax and conclusion. No spoilers here but what Paul discovers once he arrives at his final destination is compelling. I wish I could use a more descriptive adjective to describe how it’s “compelling” but I want that part of the film to surprise you the way that it did me, including the expectations with the emotions you are likely to experience. The film concludes, bringing everything that has happened in each scene full circle and I was satisfied with how all the characters grew. Martin Krejcí has created a competent movie about accepting who you are that I think will be adored by most audiences.

Final Verdict:The True Adventures of Wolfboy features a compelling setup and a likable protagonist who goes on a journey that slightly meanders, but comes full circle as it reaches its climax.