Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople ★★★★

You should have seen my spittake when the Leonard Cohen song started up.

A sweet, sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant coming-of-age buddy story featuring Sam Neill and a terrific young actor called Julian Dennison as Ricky, a foster child who goes on the lam from his latest home after the woman who adopted him dies and her gruff husband (Neill) tells him he's going to be returned to child services. One thing leads to another, and before long, the two are national fugitives. Writer-director Taika Waititi occasionally makes strange editing choices (There's a shift between scenes where a number of weeks pass, and I honestly thought it had only been a few days in movie time) but has a mastery of tone that grounds the more slapstick and morbid elements (that could easily sink this film) and makes the sentimentality feel genuinely earned.

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