The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
I won’t lie, the title alone made me hesitant. The True Adventures of Wolfboy is a terrible title and I had no idea what to expect going into this one. Was it going to be funny? Dramatic? Silly? Would there be wolf people running amuck? Is this a fantasy movie? I had so many questions, which is why I had to watch it.
This is the first feature length film from director Martin Krejcí. If I hadn’t looked him up I would never have guessed that he hadn’t helmed a feature film before. The directing was impressive. Krejcí and the screenwriter, Olivia Dufault, made a few interesting choices including breaking the movie up into thematic vignettes denoted by title cards with colorful drawings as the backdrop. The title cards are labelled to hint at what’s to come in the movie: The Dragon’s Dilemma, Wolfboy Meets a Mermaid, Wolfboy and the Pirate Queen etc. They each mark an important moment in the protagonist's story. Krejcí also plays with sound in the film, mixing non-diegetic music with diegetic music. At times, a song will be playing and the characters suddenly begin to sing the song in the background. Other than that, this is a pretty straight forward movie, despite the fact that Krejcí walks a fine line between reality and fairy tale. I am intrigued to see what Krejcí does next.
The movie follows Paul (Jaeden Martell), a thirteen year old boy who has congenital hypertrichosis which is a condition that causes abnormal hair growth all over the face and body. This is never explicitly mentioned in the movie but you’re aware that Paul has some type of abnormality. His father, Denny (Chris Messina), works as a garbage man and tries valiantly to give his son hope and some sense of normalcy. Paul is of course bullied incessantly and mentions early on in the movie that he hates himself. On his birthday he receives a package in the mail from his mother containing a map and the cryptic message, “When you’re ready there’s an explanation.” After feuding with his father, Paul runs away in search of his mom. Along the way he meets a variety of characters who are outcasts like him. In particular he makes a friend named Aristiana (Sophie Giannamore) who is able to see past his appearance. This is very much a coming of age story, focusing on learning to accept yourself but it telegraphs that a bit too heavily at times.
... A Fun Movie That Purposely Mixes Reality And Fairy Tale Elements
THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF WOLFBOY (2020)
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Jaeden Martell does a marvelous job as Paul. He’s the heart and soul of the movie, and you begin rooting for him right away. He has complex emotions that he’s dealing with and feels isolated because of his physical appearance. Martell makes Paul relatable for anyone who has ever felt lonely or misunderstood. Martell is helped by impressive performances by the supporting cast. Sophie Giannamore is particularly memorable for her role as Aristiana, a trans girl whose mother doesn’t accept her for who she is. She’s matter of fact about everything and often makes odd statements sound completely ordinary. For example, multiple times throughout the movie she mentions that she is planning to kill her mother who still refers to her as “Kevin.” My other favorite character was Rose played by Eve Hewson. Rose is a loose cannon who robs gas stations and convenience stores and wears an eye patch. These are just a few of the characters throughout the movie who are hilarious and heartwarming. The acting performances are phenomenal and watching these characters interact was highly enjoyable.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Music plays a bigger role than normal, as the characters often sing along to the songs playing in the background. Some of the songs are catchy and most have a pretty mellow vibe to them. They do what’s necessary for the scene but there wasn’t anything that stood out too much.
The main visual entity in this movie was to make Paul’s face and body excessively hairy. I thought they did a great job with this, making it look very realistic. Other than that, there isn’t much to say about the make-up or design. It’s pretty standard other than the hairy features on Paul’s face and body.
The True Adventures of Wolfboy is a fun movie that purposely mixes reality and fairy tale elements. It’s full of interesting characters who are memorable and likeable and tells a coming of age story about self acceptance and love. It doesn’t leave much to the imagination as far as the plot or how the movie will end, but it’s a fun little ride that will put you in a good mood. The best line from the movie is a good summation of the theme, “The world’s going to be mean to us no matter what we do, so we can’t afford to be mean to ourselves.”
THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF WOLFBOY is Now Available on VOD & DIGITAL