Set in 1650, Wolfwalkers is about Robyn (voice of Honor Kneasfey), a young girl who moves from England to a village in Ireland with her father, Bill Goodfellowe (Sean Bean).
The villagers are under the rule of the authoritarian Lord Protector (Simon McBurney). The village farmlands have been encroaching on the forests, the traditional home of wolves that are now attacking sheep and crops. A large wall has been erected around the village to keep the villagers safe, and Bill has been employed to rid the forests of the wolves.
One day Robyn is out looking for her pet falcon, Merlyn. Robyn meets Mehb (Eva Whittaker), a free-spirited wild child. Robyn discovers that Mehb is a wolfwalker, a person who turns into a wolf while asleep and also has special healing powers. Mehb is waiting for her mother to return.
Robyn is determined to help Mehb find her mother, so she defies Bill, who has forbidden her to go outside of the village walls. This leads to wonderful and transformative discoveries for Robyn and eventually also for Bill. He comes to search for Robyn and finds himself the hunted rather than the hunter.
Supernatural; mythology; animal rights; habitat destruction; racial and social differences; authoritarian societies
Wolfwalkers has some violence. For example:
- A pack of wolves attacks a group of farmers. They surround one man and snap and snarl at him. All the farmers are terrified.
- Soldiers frequently chase after wolves and shoot arrows at them.
- Robyn uses a crossbow to practise shooting a picture of a wolf.
- Children tease a boy who has been put into a cage and treated as a wolf. They shout, ‘Kill the wolf, hunt the wolf’.
- Wolves attack the sheep, and a farmer defends the sheep with a pitchfork. Robyn takes aim with her crossbow but accidentally wounds Merlyn instead.
- A farmer is put into the stocks for mocking the Lord Protector.
- Robyn gets caught in a wolf trap and hangs upside down from a tree.
- Robyn fights with Mebh as a wolf.
- As a wolf, Robyn is chased and shot at with arrows by soldiers, including her own father. The Lord Protector uses guns. Robyn falls from a roof into a river.
- The soldiers set fire to the forest. The wolves attack the soldiers, who fire on them with guns and exploding cannons.
Wolfwalkers has no sexual references.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Wolfwalkers has no use of substances.
Nudity and sexual activity
Wolfwalkers has no nudity and sexual activity.
There’s no product placement in Wolfwalkers.
Wolfwalkers has some very mild coarse language, including ‘jeepers’ and ‘jeezit’. There’s also some name-calling, including ‘idiot’ and ‘witch’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Wolfwalkers is an animated movie that blends history and Irish mythology in a moving story about the fate of animals at the hands of humans. It strikes a strong contrast between the strict, rigid rule of law and the free-spirited course of nature.
Families with children aged 9 years and above are likely to enjoy Wolfwalkers. But because this movie is quite intense and scary, it isn’t suitable for children under 7 years, and we recommend parental guidance for children aged 7-8 years.
The main messages from Wolfwalkers are to look after our environment and to care for the creatures that live in it.
Values in Wolfwalkers that you could reinforce with your children include courage, bravery, empathy and tolerance. The movie also highlights the importance of:
- overcoming difference
- standing up for victims of bullying
- following your heart.
Wolfwalkers could also give you the chance to talk with your children about questions like the following:
- Why do the local children dislike Robyn and her father?
- Why are people often suspicious of strangers and the unknown?
- Are people who have been colonised justified in feeling vengeful towards the colonisers?