Wolfwalkers (2020)

With the highly-advertised and equally acclaimed films Disney-Pixar produces, it is very easy to forget there are other studios making animated films, films that are often overlooked by most, even when they shouldn't. Among these, there's Cartoon Saloon's third instalment of the Irish Folklore Trilogy, Wolfwalkers, a gorgeous, fascinating and touching animated feature. 

Set in mid 17th century, the story follows Robyn Goodfellowe (Honor Kneafsey), a young, rebellious English girl as she moves to Kilkenny, Ireland, with her hunter father Bill (Sean Bean) after the latter is summoned by the Lord Protector (Simon McBurney) to hunt down the pack of wolves that inhabit the town's forests.

Wanting to become a hunter herself, Robyn disobeys her father's order to stay away from the woods and sneaks out of the town with her pet falcon, Merlyn. After accidentally shooting Merlyn with her crossbow while trying to kill a wolf, a mysterious girl comes out of the woods, taking the wounded falcon and the wolves with her.

Determined to get Merlyn back, Robyn once again sneaks away, and, while exploring the woods, not only she finds Merlyn miraculously healed but she meets a young wolf, a wolf that turns out to be the wild girl has taken Merlyn away earlier. Her name is Mebh (Eva Whittaker), and she is a wolfwalker. 

Robyn gets soon caught up into this new enchanted world as she befriends Mebh, and she finds herself torn between her father and her new friend. 

Wolfwalkers tells a complex, poignant, and fascinating story that explores themes of friendship, family, and tolerance, and the on-going conflict between humans and nature. While it's not a story filled with twists and it's predictable for the most part, it is still incredibly compelling and engaging as it manages to be suspenseful and to keep you on the edge of your seat. And the friendship between Robyn and Mebh, which is very beautiful and heartwarming and feels completely natural, only makes it stronger. 

The characters, brought to life by phenomenal voice work from the entire cast, are just as mesmerizing as they are beautifully written, with strong characterization and development, aspects that make you both care for and connect with these characters; and the main ones all have a meaningful arc, Robyn's father being my favourite as the stereotypical father who doesn't understand her child goes through a significant change of understanding and accepting different cultures and people — something that, unfortunately, many people still haven't reached nowadays. 

With all that being said, Wolfwalkers wouldn't be the charming film it is if it wasn't for its gorgeous animation. In an era of three-dimensional computer-generated animation, this gems makes its way into our hearts with an absolutely magnificent two-dimensional and hand-drawn animation. The colours are vibrant and enchanting, the characters are unique and incredibly expressive, the geometric shapes are compelling and unique, and the backgrounds are just gorgeous. This is what gives the film the immersive atmosphere that makes you feel as if you are in 1600s Ireland. 

At last but not least, the film also features a terrific score by Bruno Coulais and Irish folk group Kíla, as well as an Oscar-worthy song, Aurora's Running with the Wolves, which sadly will be not up for the award as it's not an original song. 


  1. I'm glad you loved this too! I didn't realize Aurora's song wouldn't be eligible, this is the first time I've heard it. That's disappointing.

    1. It's a real shame. Hopefully the Academy will make an exception this year.