The True Adventures of Wolfboy tells the story of Paul (Jaeden Martell). He’s a young 13-year-old boy who suffers from a rare condition called congenital hypertrichosis. It’s an affliction that cause an abnormal amount of hair growth all over his body. Living his live behind a ski mask to hide his face, Paul lives a life of isolation with his father Denny (Chris Messina) as he yearns for ‘normalcy’. Finally, Paul receives a mysterious gift on his 13th birthday that seems to offer answers about his life. So he runs away from home in search of his long-lost mother and some form of hope.
Directed by Martin Krejci, The True Adventures of Wolfboy is a surprisingly charming film that disarms with its earnestness. Part Tim Burton and part Wonder, the film is a whimsical fable that celebrates difference and empowers the broken. By deciding to segment the material with chapter-like titles, Krejci adds to the heroic nature of Paul’s quest for truth. This sort of visual queue doesn’t always work. But in this case, it allows the film to lean into its mythic nature and take on the role of an absurd bedtime story.
It features engaging performances from its cast which include Chris Messina as Paul’s out-of-touch father. John Turturro is also here as the film’s mustache-twirling villain. But it’s really young Jaeden Martell that anchors the piece. Martell is hidden behind facial make-up. But there’s an innocence to him that shines through his performance that makes his character accessible and lovable. Martell has had several high-profile roles under his belt at his young age. Those roles were in films like Defending Jacob with Chris Evans and The Lodge with Alicia Silverstone. Here, he continues to show promise in his young career and leans into Paul’s pain and purity in this role as well.
With its emphasis on those on the fringes, Wolfboy shines best as an example of embracing the outcast. Having grown up with a somewhat nightmarish appearance to other children, Paul has never ‘fit in’ in the traditional sense. Reminding himself that his life is ‘normal’ and a ‘regular kid’, Paul wants desperately to feel valued by those around him. However, his journey towards self-discovery only begins when he manages to break free from the perceived normalcy of his life and escapes into the fringes. Paul builds relationships with those who defy categorization. In doing so, begins to see that ‘normalcy’ is a flawed concept and that his value extends beyond his appearance.
Imaginative and touching, The True Adventures of Wolfboy is a heart-warming piece that proves its worth by the end. More importantly though, Paul’s journey highlights the truth that our worth stems not from the eyes of those who ‘fit in’. But rather, it stems from an inner strength and beauty that we all must embrace.
- Release Date: 10/30/2020