Saturday, November 24, 2012

RAFF 2012 Film Review - Wolf Children

Mamoru Hosada main character Hanna (voiced by Aoi Miyazaki) meets a boy at college that appears to be on is own and does not speak to anyone else. Hanna starts to study with the mysterious student and a romance begins between the two.

Hanna learns her new friend's secret before they get two serious and she still wants to continue their relationship. They move into an apartment and soon Hanna is pregnant with her fist child a daughter Yuki followed shortly by a son Ame.

A rainy night hunting expedition produces a tragic accident that leaves Hanna on her own to raise two infants. The two kids show their fathers traits when angry, neighbours complain about the noise and social services come  around to see why the children have not had their shots. Hanna shows the frustration of any parent left to fend with two children without the proper tools or knowledge to deal with their mods or illnesses.   Hanna decides to move to the country so her children can determine how they want to live in their lives.

Hanna buys a run down home and tries to grow her own food. She is not successful at first but with the help of the initially reluctant neighbours her crops flourish. Yuki takes to the country and is very rambunctious and out going.  Meanwhile Ame is sickly and sticks close to his mother most of the time. He is troubled by the portrayal of his other side in books and the media. He does not want to be portrayed as the bad guy.

The new life finally comes together with the first snowfall and a carefree run by all three through the forest.

Yuki reaches school age and decides that she wants to attend school but can only go if she promises to keep the other side of her personality in  check. Hanna starts a job as a forest ranger she Ame spends time with her amongst the animals and takes special interest in the wolf.

Eventually Ame goes to school but is not popular while Yuki is a class standout. She does have some differences with the other girls due to the other side of her nature.

One year a new boy comes in the middle of the year.  He teases and pushes Yuki. She breaks her nature and attacks him. Yuki is ready to face the consequences but the boy does not blame her for his injury.

Meanwhile Ami spends less time at school and more in the mountains amongst the animals.

When a storm comes to the area Ame goes into the woods. Hanna is asked to pick up Yuki at school
but goes after Ame instead. Each child has made their decision on which side of their nature they will embrace and it's not the choice one would have expected during their early development.

Wolf Children is an excellently fable that is very funny in the most unexpected places. Hosoda weaves a film that is very strong on story and high on character development.  This film clearly establishes Hosoda as a director to watch.

A film that I would definitely recommend.

*** 1/2 out of 4

Wolf Children

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