The Wolf Suit is a cathartic film by director Sam Firth. Not only is it a cathartic film for her to get to the bottom of the trauma that she has experienced. But it allows anyone who has been in a similar position as a child of divorce to ask those questions to their own family. A deeply personal and utterly fascinating documentary.
Troubled by conflicting accounts of her parents’ break-up and the happy childhood memories of when they all lived together in Walthamstow, Sam Firth embarks on an emotional exploration of those recollections – and by extension, the notion of truth – and details the results of tapping into them.
The Wolf Suit will not be for everyone, and that is okay; this is a film that really was made for a specific group in mind, the children of a troubled parental relationship and divorce. This is such a personal film that, at times, you almost wonder if we as the audience have intruded or accidentally watched a therapy session. The family bare their souls out to us, and it can be uncomfortable to experience. However, that is very much the point of her film. To get the truth, or at least the closest thing to the truth, you need to talk about it, experience it in some form. They do that here, and at times it makes The Wolf Suit a compelling watch.
Heavy themes mentioned here are probably best left for you to experience when you watch the film. Interestingly, different people have different perspectives and memories of events that may haunt them or have caused them a form of trauma. For example, as Sam talks to her mother about an event between her and her father, her mother tries to correct Sam with the details. Yet, Sam has the audio recordings, which alter significantly to the new remembrance. Equally, her father has another altering opinion on what happened, and it is only when Firth uses her actors to play out the version she thinks is true that there is a discussion on what the truest version is, and even then, it is hazy.
Yet, for all the trauma presented on screen, not only Sam’s but each of her parents, there are moments of light cascading through. Not every moment of her childhood and their marriage was a disaster, there were good days, and it is vital these must be mentioned. Otherwise, the pain wraps around you. Sure, it is a psychological trait on those who have encountered such events in their young lives to try and forget the negatives and keep an iron-like grip on the positives of that period. But what would be of those who didn’t? With Firth mentioning those moments, she allows herself and the film to have a little rest bite. As said earlier, there are some heavy themes presented here as the trio awaken and try to construct the truth as best they can. So, taking a step back once and a while is needed.
In the end, The Wolf Suit does everything it needs to for audiences; it brings awareness to this type of situation and its effects on everyone involved. Sam Firth bares her soul to us, and we have to thank her for that. It allows us to think about our childhood and wonder what our parents or if you are the parent, what the child is thinking at that time, what will be their perspective on the events. As said, it is fascinating and well worth searching for if you can.
For more coverage of the 2021 London Film Festival, have a look below!
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