Film Review: The Wolfpack


I got the chance to see the film The Wolfpack this week. It is directed by first time feature filmmaker Crystal Moselle and I really like it a lot. It is a documentary that tells the story of a group of 7 children who were raised in a New York City apartment completely isolated from the outside world. Their father wouldn’t allow them to leave more than a few times a year and their mother homeschooled them. While they weren’t allowed to watch TV or go on the internet, they were seemingly allowed to watch all the movies they wanted. One of their biggest forms of entertainment were to act out movies with elaborate homemade props and costumes and spot on impressions of the actors in the real films. Things begin to change when one of them escapes.

I don’t want to give anything away so I just want to talk about some of my impressions that I left the film with. First of all, I think that Crystal Moselle did a fantastic job of walking the line between respecting her subjects as humans and profiteering or taking advantage of their story. I say this because the abuses they endured from their alcoholic father growing up leaves them socially awkward. They are shown to be very intelligent and introspective throughout the film and their love for each other and their mother is apparent. This could easily have fallen prey to exploiting the family by just saying “look how strange they are!” It doesn’t, it reveals them all to be real people who can be empathized and sympathized with. Every once in a while it takes a step back to remind us that the conditions they grew up in aren’t normal or okay. Without a doubt this was an abusive household.

The thing that I walked away from the film with I hope to hold onto is the joy they experienced from encountering things that most people would consider mundane. On their first trip to Coney Island they remark that it reminds them of Lawrence of Arabia. That was probably the first and last time someone will innocently liken those two things to each other. In a “real” world when many people are tied to their screens, they engage with it in delight. I hope to look at the world with wonder.

This is a great documentary that leaves the viewer with way more questions that it answers. If you are okay with ambiguity then you should check it out!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: