Up to this point in his life, Paul (Jaeden Martell – Knives Out, It – 2017) has led a rather isolated and tortured life. The young boy lives with his father (Chris Messina – Argo, Birds of Prey) as his mother (Chloe Sevigny – Boys Don’t Cry, The Dead Don’t Die) has left the family. Isolated because he has a rare disorder which causes hair to grow all over his body making him look like a werewolf. Needless to say, Paul is tormented constantly at school by his classmates. So he spends most of his time alone.
At a certain point he can no longer take it, so he decides to run away to try and find his mother. His running away is also inspired by a present he gets on his 13th birthday. Paul has to somehow get to Pennsylvania without the money he needs to do so. So the route is not going to be typical or simple. Along the way he meets circus owner Mr. Silk (John Turturro – Barton Fink, The Good Shepherd), an older one eyed girl named Rose (Eve Hewson – Bridge of Spies, Tesla) and a girl his age named Aristiana (Sophie Giannamore – from television’s Transparent).
The film had its premiere at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival last year and was also part of the virtual SXSW this year.
Coming-of-age film by director Martin Krejci (first feature film), it is certainly not your typical film of this genre. It is quirky at times and just plain odd at others. A film filled with oddballs. Freaks. Wisely Krejci counterbalances all the strangeness with heart/warmth.
Beneath the odd moments is a strong message about self-acceptance and identity. How we see others who are deemed “different” and how we see ourselves. Our place in the world. How tough adolescence is for those who are not like everyone else. How those who exist on the fringes of society sometimes find a family amongst others like themselves.
This is not just a strange world created by writer, cinematographer and director, it is a fully fleshed out one. Nor is it your typical young adult one.