Parent reviews for Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Common Sense says

Quirky Kiwi dramedy promotes teamwork, friendship.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 31 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 27 reviews
Adult Written byamycoko September 28, 2016

WARNING - sexual content not mentioned in the review by commonsensemedia

For CSM's review to say there is no warning about sex is inaccurate and makes me wonder how carefully the reviewer actually watched the movie. <> There is a scene where the two "runaways" (an adult and a child - both males) are talking with hunters at an outpost. The child is describing a situation that makes it sound very much as if the adult is forcing the teen to perform sexual acts. This is not at all what is happening in their lives, but the hunters who do not know them think it is. This is a very serious situation that is almost made light of in the movie since the teen's description is "accidentally" taken as something it's not. If a child/teen watching has a background of abuse or is sensitive to that for any other reason this scene could be very detrimental. Or just surprising to the adult who thinks they did their due diligence by checking here, only to find that the reviewer was remiss to point it out.

Otherwise, the movie was very good. The portrayal of love that foster parents have for their new son is a great example of what family means. This particular scene just should have been mentioned in the review.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written byhoppybrew October 14, 2016

Not appropriate for kids of same age as protagonist

The overall plot of the movie is moderately entertaining even if very derivative. The main issues are that despite the main protagonist's young age (and therefore seemingly a family-friendly film), segments featuring intense animal violence and suggestive pedophilic innuendo seem oriented toward much older audiences.

The animal violence (which furthers the story little to none) includes multiple instances of animals graphically knifed to death (complete with flying blood splatter and blood-curdling screams/howling), a family pet being gored to mortal injury by a giant wild boar, and said family pet being shot to death.

The pedophilic innuendo involves the protagonist young boy, mistaking two characters' queries as to what they are doing out in the wild, roundaboutly (and inadvertently) suggests that the main supporting character makes him perform sexual acts through a tongue-in-cheek play on words, reducing the subject of pedophilia to a punch line.

The widespread critical acclaim this film has garnered (and CSM's own "Great For Families" stamp of approval) is rather lost on this reviewer. If you're looking for a real family-friendly film, look elsewhere.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 14-year-old Written bytinacarlon July 28, 2016

Great feel-good movie

I saw this with my 14 year old was a heartwarming movie, and funny. Yes, there were some serious themes: the kid is a foster kid, the nice foster mom dies, and a dog is killed by a wild boar. But it gives you (Spoiler alert!) the happy ending you are hoping for throughout the movie. I disagree with the other parent review here: the references to pedophilia were subtle and didn't bother me. I agree it is NOT a laughing matter, and didn't think it was treated as one. Some cussing does not bother me, but overt sexual innuendo does -- this movie had none of the latter. Bottom line: see it!
Parent Written byElizabeth Wheeler July 12, 2016

Pedophilia is not for laughs

TRIGGER WARNING: Child sexual abuse

I wanted to love this movie. The acting is great, the scenery fantastic, the script is well written ...

My big "but" is that the whole story is premised on an older man being suspected of pedophilia. I am seriously concerned that children might come away from this movie with wrong ideas about what might happen if they report concerns about an adult's behaviour.

Children who are being abused often feel ambivalent in their relationship with their abuser, including being protective of them. If a child thinks that their abuser is going to be hunted down by gun-wielding crazies, then they might be much less likely to report behaviours of concern.

I am also concerned that this movie might trigger kids who are survivors of sexual abuse.

I suspect that this movie would be fine for teenagers who have not experienced sexual abuse. It was also fine for my 8yo - for whom the entire abuse sub-plot went right over his head. But for tweens and young teens, it's seriously problematic.

(Also, there is a particularly violent pig-killing scene early in the movie ... my friend had to escort four hysterical 10 year olds out of the cinema at that point)
Adult Written byKelle Rivers October 25, 2020

Clever, warm-hearted adventure

I read the reviews and had a little bit of concern but it was unfounded. My 15-year-old picked up on the humor and there was nothing he couldn't handle. Actually felt that the content around child molestation - which is in no way graphic and really only the word used in dialogue - provided a good opportunity for us to check in on that . As we continued watching I started to worry about the possibility of anything but a disastrous ending but it ends well. We loved the movie.
Adult Written byAGBA October 3, 2020

A tearful comedy - brilliant but not for everyone

This film was suggested by my 8 yr old. He had read an account of the original story in a book for alternative heroes for boys. Apparently it came about because Maori culture ( like many cultures , traditional or modern western) celebrates a macho vision of male success .... and the creator wanted to write a Survival story from the perspective of a boy who can only be considered “uncool” in every sense

The boys fantasy ( he wants to be a gangsta ) is both ridiculous and totally relatable , understandable and though the underlying reality of his life is undeniably sad - abandonment, death, negligence from social services- this is no pity Parade. It is actually celebrates the best of ordinary life - nature and friendships , dreams and poetry and full of the joy in every day colours

Yes - there are scenes of surviving in the wild Bush - so there’s a number of violent encounters with boars, a pet dog which has to be put to rest and there’s guns and drug life galore.. .but it is all in context of fantasy which is clearly not as precious as the ordinary life that is longed for, and should be every child’s right

I don’t think artists/ film makers need to be forced to make it their vision palatable for a wide audience - but my children could tell the difference between the fantasy and the real aspirations. Even my 6yr old

They also laughed their heads off - and I appreciated that ... it doesn’t happen often enough with ages 5-13 , and mix of genders

The only bit I was glad went over their heads initially was the reference to the conversation aboit “playing together “ . It was a funny scene which causes great tension as a simple conversation gets misconstrued as a perverted assault. My eldest child (13) got the innuendo immediately and was trying to hold her giggles in as the misunderstanding unfolded. The younger boys didn’t get it but noticed her awkward laughter . I felt that I had to stop and use the occasion to remind them about the Hands off pants rule and how it is important to tell someone you trust if compromised . Whilst it was lightly done and a good educational opportunity - I think it might cause some distress to anyone who has been abused, and anyone who has failed to get support

I also think it might be a tough watch for anyone who has been in foster care / juvenile detention. The story is incredibly sweet and positive in outlook and final outcomes - but obviously that’s not everybody’s reality

I wasn’t happy about the swearing - it’s a lot and my kids were also shocked that an average woman in her 50s could just die of heart disease ( presumably ) ... this could be show stopper for some children... and I could see mine saying - this won’t happen to anyone we know - will it mummy ?

For everyone else - this is a movie to watch across generations and laugh and be excited and be moved - all together on a wet rainy weekend during covid lockdown

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byElmay November 6, 2021


I wanted to like this movie. I wish I could say I did.

However, the theme of paedophilia was very triggering for me as someone who has been assaulted. There should definitely be a warning about this.
There's another review here that says they disagree paedophilia was a strong theme, however please understand that whether it was fine for you or not, people with a history of abuse should not be exposed to content like this, especially not without warning

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Adult Written byjessieloveswineLOL October 14, 2021


great movie a bit scary for my 16 year old but he is disabled so its fine!! Great love it!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Adult Written bygogo108 June 29, 2021

Great Movie

This movie is a very good film. The good things about it are that: 1. There is a lot of jokes in this movie. 2. It is funny. 3. It makes you laugh. 4. There is some action in this movie. The not so good things are: 1. The movie says a lot of bad words. 2. some blood is in this movie. 3. Some scenes are kinda inapropriat. Overall this is a great movie!!
Parent of a 14-year-old Written byUnritten75 May 24, 2021

An Enjoyable Evening Movie

It's definitely a cute story. Love the friendship that develops between Ricky and Uncle. Worth the time to watch.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 15-year-old Written byell123 March 27, 2021

Quirky NZ movie

Centres around a 13 year old Maori boy with a criminal record who is put in foster care as his last chance. When his foster mother dies he goes on a trek in the bush (forest) with his foster carer's partner Sam Neill to escape his unpleasant caseworker who wants to take him back. Hard to classify- not a kids movie, not a coming of age movie. Comedic elements, dramatic elements, spectacular scenery, some black humor that judging from the comments, some audiences may not entirely get and may mistake as serious. There is a pig killing scene, it was comedy - even myself, an animal lover did not take offence but might upset young kids. It shows diversity without preaching and has a heartwarming ending.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byjanetbarnwell March 17, 2021
Adult Written bySKim14 March 9, 2021

Not suitable for all kids

My husband and I loved this movie - our kids, not so much. They found the scene (with the boar) quite upsetting and opted out of watching the rest of the movie. A number of scenes following that one would definitely not have worked for our three kids (7, 9, 11) particularly the loss of the pet dog. I will look forward to watching it with them when they’re older!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byChewbeccca January 23, 2021

NOT a PG movie!

Wow that is the last time I put on a PG movie without checking the reviews! There is an incredibly violent stabbing of a wild pig in the first 10mins!!! It was really shocking and I am so glad we were able to cover the kids eyes. Not long after that a main character who is the only person in the movie who is kind to the main kid dies suddenly and the husband grieving over the body is done very realistically, but it really is not a scene I want my kids to see before they are mature enough to handle it. Definitely not PG, more like M. We had to stop there so I cannot comment further except to say that it seemed like a fun movie, for adult audiences.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Adult Written byJennyruk December 18, 2020

Quirky humour

Good quality humour with super quirky and endearing characters. This is definitely off the beaten path. There are a few mature scenes like the death of a beloved pet and some gory scenes where wild boars are slaughtered, but it isn’t dwelled on. The pace and delivery of humour prior to those scenes makes it appear almost ludicrous. The scene that alludes to sexual abuse of a minor was nothing that hasn’t shown up in an Adam Sandler movie, so if you’ve watched his movies, then this definitely won’t be shocking. It is something to be aware of, however. Great movie for tweens and adults, but may not be appropriate for sensitive folk.
Parent of a 11 and 14-year-old Written byMichael T. December 18, 2020

Not really worth it

The movie is disappointing. Whatever else would be meaningful. The movie had nothing to teach. It's empty and mostly without any resolution. And it's weird.
Parent of a 16 and 18+-year-old Written byCCV2015 October 15, 2020

Wonderful Movie! Original, moving and hilarious

What a great movie! Great for the whole family 12+ years old. I laughed a lot and it was also very moving with a great ending!

Nothing is extreme. It’s real life, most kids have heard cussing and will continue to for the rest of their lives. It was not hateful or excessive in this movie. If swearing is not a part of your household/family culture, this movie is nothing to worry about, it won’t harm your child. But it may provide you a teachable moment maybe.

The good lessons about character, not giving up on someone, processing life’s challenges, honesty and of family taking care of each other definitely outweigh any objections about this movie.

And I never complain if a well acted, original, quality movie with great messages, role models and humor incites questions or causes a discussion with my child or any family member! (i.e. the foster mom randomly dropping dead or what a “pedo” is) It’s a great safe place to have a conversation, express your families values on topics and model how to have a respectful, common sense discussion. Better that my children have these conversations with me instead of a peer who may not have the same values or even the correct information.

Btw – I could have done without the animal violence. But it was a short scene.
Adult Written byEpicReviews August 31, 2020
Adult Written byFeeBea22 May 16, 2020
Adult Written bylnt51797 March 27, 2020

The whole family really enjoyed it

In one scene, the kid describes his experience in the wild with his foster uncle in a way that sounds like the uncle was sexually abusing him. It was not obvious. My 16 year old completely got it; I had to explain it to my 12 year old. I could see explaining this to them when they were 10, without issues.

The rest of the movie was a lot of fun, with good messages.

Some tragedy: the foster aunt, who agrees to take on the troubled foster child, dies early on. It's handled with sensitivity.

Loved it.