The Wolfpack

★★★★
As some who loves movies, I found it impossible not to love “The Wolfpack”.
Movie Review #1,012

wolfpack

Magnolia Pictures
Documentary
1 hour, 30 minutes
Rated R (language)
Released July 10, 2015
Directed by Crystal Moselle

“The Wolfpack” documents the Angulo family, six boys and one girl, whose father wanted to live in Scandinavia and whose mother wanted to live in the Midwest where she grew up. Neither place was affordable, though, and they wound up living in a public housing project in New York City. It’s a completely different lifestyle for all of them, especially since their father does not let them out of the apartment. Now and then, he’ll bring them somewhere under his strict supervision. The most they’ve ever done this, however, is nine times in a single year, and there are in fact some years where they do not exit the apartment at all.

The film takes two sides on the father to help us better understand him. Initially, we get the impression that he’s overprotective. We wonder what kind of individual would ever do this to his children (and, to an extent, his wife, as well). But beyond the extreme protection that goes into this decision of his, there’s also the fact that he’s worried for his children’s safety. We can all agree that New York is as unpredictable a city as any, and particularly so for two parents who have never before lived in a city. We learn to understand his reasoning for keeping his kids inside all day every day, and we grow to admire him quite a bit. We begin to realize that he’s not putting his family last–in fact, he’s putting them first, far in front of whatever is second.

As someone who values cinema more than anything else in this world, I found it impossible to not enjoy “The Wolfpack”. The film largely focuses what the kids do when they’re not being homeschooled: they engross themselves in the world of movies. They watch over 5,000 movies together, and this is how they get to know the world around them. Sometimes, one of them will write down every line so they can reenact the movie later on. Their reflection on the consequences of their reenactments offer the best moments of the movie. When the oldest sibling is 15 years old, he decides to leave the apartment unsupervised. He wears a Michael Myers masking to avoid being seen by his father, who is out shopping for groceries. Inevitably, somebody calls the police, and he is arrested and put in a mental institution. At another point, the police come to their apartment with a search warrant, because someone reported possession of weapons, having noticed them through the window reenacting “Reservoir Dogs” with cardboard guns. These scenes are, on one hand, sad because the Angulo kids don’t know society enough to be able to operate properly when society is watching. But at the same time, they summon our inner child in an amusing and rejuvenating way.

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3 thoughts on “The Wolfpack

  1. Aw man – I’ve noticed this starting to pop up on a bunch of ‘best of the year’ lists. Can’t wait to check it out after such a glowing review!

    There’s a similar-ish Greek film called Dogtooth that you’d probably find interesting if you dug this concept.

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