Have you ever fallen in love so passionately with a movie? I have, and it's exactly what happened to me with this movie.
The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki is nothing like I expected, but in a really good way. I was completely thrown off track from the first twenty minutes alone. It starts with a heartwarming story of a college student Hana who falls in love with a boy in her class. It turns out that the boy, who's unnamed all throughout the film, is not enrolled in school. He just enjoys listening to the lectures. That's the start of their innocent and simple love story. One night, the boy reveals to Hana his big secret: he's actually a wolf.
Werewolves or wolves falling in love with human has been used and abused in mainstream media, but The Wolf Children takes on a different approach. The love story is merely a catalyst of the often heart-breaking but incredibly inspiring story of Hana and how she raised her wolf children. From start to finish, I only have mad respect for this woman.
All by herself, Hana tries to raise her two wolf children Yuki and Ame who are complete opposites. While Yuki is energetic and boisterous, Ame is quiet and highly introverted. The two may be different but they go through the same crucial difficulties growing up. Having caused much ruckus in their Tokyo apartment, Hana is forced to move to the countryside. And thus the start of the warm story of growth and acceptance of the two children.
The Wolf Children is directed by the amazing Mamoru Hosoda, so it's only expected for this movie to be incredibly well-drawn. This movie is highly compared to Ghibli movies, but I think people should stop doing that. Even though they pointed out how this movie pays ode to some of Miyazaki Hayao's greatest works, it's an entirely unique and different film. What sets this movie apart from other Ghibli flicks is how there's actually real conflict! Suparnatural dilemmas that still feel very real. The characters face conflict that they have to resolve in their own or in the company of the people who care for them the most. I often feel like some of the Ghibli films I watch have no obvious conflict, and it's okay because I love Ghibli flicks. But The Wolf Children takes a different route from the usual tracks followed by Ghibli flicks.
This movie spans a couple of years, from the time the parents meet till the time the children are all grown up. With such a long span of years to cover, it feels impossible to do it in a cohesive manner, but Mamoru Hosoda expertly does it. There's one particular narrative in the movie where it's shown the school years in the life of Yuki and Ame. It's shown flawlessly in a montage. It doesn't have a narration nor a voice over, but they expertly convey the events and the stories that transpired over the years.
I can't pinpoint why I honest to goodness love this story. I'm pretty sure that it's partly because it makes me so darn happy. Maybe it's also because it shows how a happy ending actually means differently from person to person. It can also be because it delivers a story that can tug at your heartstrings from the first five minutes alone. Not all movies can do that. Maybe it's also because I have this silly and melancholic smile on my face once the credits started rolling. It's rare for me to feel happy and satisfied by the end of the movie.
It has been a few days since I watched movie, so it has already sunk in. I've absorbed what I have to absorb, and yet, I still feel insatiably happy whenever a cute scene flashes in my mind. I either get a bit depressed or warm or gleeful whenever I remember a particular scene.
Maybe why I love The Wolf Children is because it's a movie that stays with me. And it's not always that a movie keeps me company even when I'm already done watching it.