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Wolf (2012)

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A family is shaken to the core when they discover that their son has been molested. As they struggle to deal with the betrayal, their son heads towards a total mental collapse because of his love for his abuser.

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4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Selena Aguilar ...
School Girl
...
Priest
Jordan Cooper ...
Carl
Mikala Gibson ...
Nona
...
Brenda
...
Asst to Elder Thomas
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Jaymund
Eugene Lee ...
Bishop Anderson
Tim Newkirk ...
Detective Charles
...
Police Detective
...
Naomi
Gabi Walker ...
Jade
...
Woman at Church
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A family is shaken to the core when they discover that their son has been molested. As they struggle to deal with the betrayal, their son heads towards a total mental collapse because of his love for his abuser.

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Drama | Family

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11 March 2012 (USA)  »

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A sensitive and intelligent portrayal of sexual abuse within a church
4 June 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Wolf is an emotionally-charged but sensitive depiction of a family whose son is seduced by a church official. It's hard to believe that this is the first feature film for Jordan Cooper (as Carl, the teen-aged son) and Shelton Jolivette (as the complicated father), who play their parts convincingly among a skillful cast.

Cooper and Jolivette's performances--in a very natural and believable way--reflect the confusing mix of emotions and impulses that we imagine family members in this horrible situation would undergo. The father needs understanding, education, revenge and time both with and away from his son. Carl, in turn, expresses his need to take control of an unmanageable life in self-destructive ways that also hurt others as he simultaneously seeks support and withdraws from family and friends. Mikala Gibson does a fine job as the mother and wife, trapped between her unconditional love for her son and the powerful emotions of a father who vacillates between his obvious love for Carl and his impulses for vengeance and to numb himself to the pain.

I was so pleased to share how these performances deeply touched me with these fine young actors and writer/director Ya'Ke Smith in person at the Little Rock Film Festival on June 3, 2012. Others in the audience, including a police detective who has investigated sex abuse cases for 14 years, praised the film and its cast and crew for their courage and accurate portrayals.

At that showing, Smith explained that he has channeled his life as a member of the church community, episodes of sexual abuse that friends have shared with him and many hours of research into a believable and sensitive depiction of a subject many of us don't want to talk about--but need to. The film does contain a very few seconds that suggest illegal activity, but only to make its point and move the plot forward; the brief scene isn't graphic and only ensures that viewers understand what happened. There's no nudity or sense of exploitation or sensationalism to create hype or drum up controversy for the film--the storytelling and imagery are honest and straightforward.

Smith and the cast handle the film's difficult subject matter with intelligence and sensitivity, making Wolf, as Ya'Ke said, a perfect "conversation starter" for families, church groups and communities. We must all become willing to face these hurtful truths within our culture if we're ever to have hope of reducing the problem of sexual abuse and helping the victims on a healing path. Wolf can become a tool toward that end.


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