Stephen reviews: Wolf Children (2012)

wolfchildrenWolf Children [おおかみこどもの雨と雪 Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki] (2012)
AKA The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki

Starring Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Haru Kuroki, Momoka Ono, Yukito Nishii, Amon Kabe, Takuma Hiraoka

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda

Like Mamoru Hosoda’s other films, Wolf Children is a lighthearted, feel-good movie. It’s a movie that begs to be called “charming” and “heartwarming.” Even more so than his previous films, this is a story about family while still holding on to his usual themes of growing up. I usually prefer darker and more adult fare, but luckily for for me Hosoda excels at making these family-friendly stories engaging. He’s crafted a wonderful cast of characters that are easy to love and care about.

This time the story is focused less on growing up and more on raising children. Of course the two overlap, but in most coming-of-age stories the parents are off in the periphery. In Wolf Children the mother, Hana, is as much of a main character as anyone. The film follows her struggles to raise her two children, Ame and Yuki. The twist is that the kids’ father was half wolf, and so Ame and Yuki can change back and forth from human to wolf, leading to extra complications for Hana as she is also stuck raising the two children on her own.

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