From director Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars) comes his latest masterpiece. Hana, a nineteen-year-old college student, falls in love with a man, only to discover his secret: he is a direct descendent of the Japanese wolf. Nevertheless, they are in love, so they build a life together and bear two children: a son and daughter named Ame (Rain) and Yuki (Snow). Both children inherit lycan powers from their father and are able to vacillate between wolf and human forms.
One night, the wolf father dies in an accident, while on the hunt to feed his children. Without their father to teach them control of their wolf powers, Hana makes a life-changing decision to take her children and live in isolation, moving to a rural town to raise her children in seclusion. Ame and Yuki suffer growing pains in their new environment, but soon must make a difficult life choice of their own: to lead a life as either a human or a wolf.
Regarded by many as the heir apparent to Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro), Mamoru Hosoda extends his lineage of humanistic stories with fantastical elements. With The Wolf Children, the universal themes of family, coming-of-age, adolescence and bereavement are explored in a realistic and touching way. The theme of nature versus nurture, especially when it comes to the wolf children themselves, run parallel to their mother’s story. Ame leans towards his wolf spirit with the forest surrounding him as a perfect home, while Yuki soon makes friends in school and gravitates to a conventional life. Between them, Hana struggles to cope as she preserves her family’s legacy and clings to the memory of her late husband. The Wolf Children is an enchanting film for all ages, with a strong ecological message.