'Wolfwalkers' is the Best Animated Movie of 2020 title_ext

Wolfwalkers movie poster

I tried watching Wolfwalkers with my two-year-old. That lasted approximately five minutes, until she made clear, as she cowered in another room, that it was a little too scary for her. My wife called the artwork “harsh.” That may be true but the animation, and the movie itself, are also quite beautiful.

About a young girl in Ireland in the 1630s who encounters a wolf pack and a strange child who seems to be able to control the pack, Wolfwalkers is an entrancing and visually enthralling movie from Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells, The Breadwinner) and Ross Stewart. Using traditional animation–though to call the animation traditional isn’t quite fair–Moore and crew splash the screen with vibrant colors and unique artwork that draw you into their lush and intoxicating world.

I’m admittedly not a huge fan of non-mainstream animated fare–or at least am not naturally attracted to the genre–but it’s hard to look away from Wolfwalkers. The story, both simple and complex, capable of appealing to children while hitting on deeper or at least adult themes, is mesmerizing. And the characters, and the way they interact with one another, are instantly memorable. The voice work by Honor Kneafsey and Eva Whittaker is top grade; their talents bring the two girls to life with charisma and charm. Sean Bean is excellent as well.

While Wolfwalkers isn’t your standard animated fare, it’s a beautiful film that deserves every accolade thrown its way. And if you generally stick to Disney-esque cartoons like I do, consider branching out just this once.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.


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