Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople ★★★★½

Waititi's film is a lovely ode to unconventional families. It is packed with the gorgeous vistas of New Zealand and has the quirky humor from that region. It is utterly delightful.
A troubled young teen is placed with a new foster family near the edge of the Bush. When a tragedy strikes he must set out into the wilderness with his new adoptive uncle and learns what respect and acceptance is truly about. Meanwhile a social worker with an elevated sense of importance launches the police into a massive manhunt to find the two on the run.
At every moment this film is unexpected. The light humor, the goodwill and the occasional steps into sorrow are all viewed through Waititi's curious view. It is a bold movie, yet refreshingly light and airy. It feels as if it could collapse and become maudlin but it never does. It is a real tight rope he walks here and he successfully navigates it.
He is ably supported by his two leads, Neill, playing gruff with a tender core, and especially from Dennison, who takes what could be an extremely unlikable character and makes him into someone real who we root for.
This is a terrific film and one I hope finds a larger audience.

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