Jaeden Martell plays Paul, a 13-year-old boy who suffers from hypertrichosis – an extremely rare affliction causing abnormal hair growth all over his face and body. Unhappy with his life, this leads him on an unexpected adventure, not only to find his mother, but also to discover who he is.
The first portion of the film reminds us all about the cruelness of children and how unaccepting some parts of society are to those who are different. This heart-breaking and somewhat familiar opening, leads to Wolfboy’s adventures, as he seeks answers to his life and where he fits in the world. Along the way he finds others with similar issues regarding societies acceptance of them, as well as questions about their own confidence and self-worth.
With the film placed into adventure chapters by story-book imagery, there’s a constant and deliberate narrative in play to break up his journey. Director Martin Krejcí, better known for adverts and short features, produces, along with his cinematographer, a splendidly beautiful film, with some real heart-warming charm. There are some brilliantly interesting characters on show, and solid prosthetics and looks to help them, all knotted together in a surprisingly deep and oddly dark tale.
As for the cast, Martell portrays the heart and emotion of Paul very well. His gentle tones and internal anger, all off set with a school blazer and a fur suit. Eve Hewson has a fun, rip-roaring, yet sadly short, supporting journey, while Chloë Sevigny adds a short burst of her usual quality to comb things up towards the end. Chris Messina plays the downtrodden, worried and lonely father, and he is excellent, if not badly suffering from a lack of screen time. John Turturro’s Mr Silk character is an interesting, yet oddly over-the-top, underused and overall, pretty pointless character, simply there as some form of antagonist, when in truth, he is actually a victim.
Sophie Giannamore plays the most important co-star (narratively speaking that is), and she is excellent. Her personal journey is far more interesting than Wolfboy’s, with far more threads to pull on. Her transgender character enforces a welcome and engaging break, not only for Wolfboy, but also for the viewer.
Wolfboy’s adventures ultimately sparks two trailing foes, and they both almost seem unjustified, with the police a pretty pointless addition to proceedings. The whole adventure seems to be a little too grand to fit the tale, and then ends without any consequence or a decent threading together of all the characters strands. It’s all a bit scraggly, just like wet hair in the plughole.
All in all, the impact, scale and shockwaves of Wolfboy’s actions don’t really justify the journey he goes on. Although the ending nicely rounded off the film’s messages of acceptance, self-discovery and friendship, it was disappointingly predictable and without consequence.
At times The True Adventures of Wolfboy can be emotionally absorbing, as well as thoughtful and entertaining. It’s a real journey of acceptance, love, self-discovery, self-worth and honesty, but it just needed a clearer, less ruffled, joining together. One with consequences, that were equal and justified to the level of self-discovery. There are some good performances in there, but it’s just a bit un-rounded, un-polished and too hair-brained my personal liking.
Signature Entertainment presents The True Adventures of Wolfboy on Digital Platforms in the UK from March 15th 2021.