The Adventures of Wolfboy – a unique, beautiful and engaging modern fairytale

The True Adventures of Wolfboy (USA)


Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Adventures of Wolfboy is available on all major streaming platforms from March 15th

In a world obsessed with the next Marvel movie or who’s next to wear the bat suit on film, you could be forgiven for thinking that heroes only exist in the pages of a comic book. However, heroes come in all shapes and sizes and walk among us daily. These everyday heroes don’t have special powers, emblems or secret identities; their superpower is their courage, conviction, and belief in a better world. But who are these heroes? Well, they are all those children and adults who survive bullying, celebrate their difference or disability and shout “This is me” from the highest rooftop. These fantastic people surround us as we go about our daily lives. They shine with individuality and never allow others to bring them crashing down. Occasionally, a movie comes along that places these heroes centre stage, and The Adventures of Wolfboy is one of those rare and beautiful gems as it laces together elements of Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands with Collodi’s Pinocchio.


Thirteen-year-old Paul (Jaeden Martell) lives like a recluse with his single dad (Chris Messina) in their small house under a large freeway. Paul’s room is a sanctuary from the bullies surrounding him, his only comfort, a knitted balaclava that hides his condition from the world when he dares to step outside. Paul is no ordinary teenage boy; he is unique, beautiful and covered in thick hair. Paul has Hypertrichosis, otherwise known as Werewolf Syndrome, a condition that he has lived with since birth.

Paul loves his dad, but he misses his mum, who vanished after his birth. But while Paul dreams of finding his long-lost mother, his dad is struggling to help him overcome his anxiety and deal with the relentless bullying he faces. Therefore his dad suggests a special boarding school for kids who are different. But as Paul reluctantly tries on his new school uniform, a mysterious birthday gift sits on his bedside table. Paul quickly explores the present and is amazed to find a brief note and map from his long-lost mum, inviting him to find her in Pennsylvania. Without a thought, Paul leaves the house and the safety and security his dad offers with the map in hand. But is everything as clear-cut as it first appears?


As a travels alone, Paul falls under the guidance and protection of the dangerous circus owner Mr Silk (John Turturro), before meeting Aristiana (Sophie Giannamore), a trans girl fighting her own battle for acceptance. But the road ahead is dangerous and uncertain, even with friends around you.

Collodi’s Pinocchio sits at the heart of The Adventures of Wolfboy with a narrative arc built around Paul’s trials, tribulations and his journey to be free. Even Paul’s opening lines reflect Collodi’s work as he states, “I’m normal, I’m a regular kid; I’m just like everyone else.” However, Olivia Dufault’s modern fairytale also diverges from Collodi’s classic as she explores 21st-century life by discussing themes of social isolation and identity. Here The Adventures of Wolfboy has more in common with Stephen Chbosky’s Wonder as it discusses social anxiety, difference, transformation and discrimination.


Throughout his journey, Paul’s guardian angel, first love, and support is Aristiana, a trans kid fighting for acceptance and love, and the importance of the underlying trans narrative is clear throughout. Here the film’s beautiful exploration of self-discovery and individuality shines through Martell, Giannamore and Hewson as it explores the intersectionality of equality characteristics. The final message is clear; whether our differences lay in colour, gender, sexuality, appearance, or ability, we are stronger when we fight for equality together than we are when we fight apart.


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