A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
People have their complex reasons for doing things, and they aren't always obvious.
Positive Role Models
A publisher dreaming of success is pressed by a devastating lawsuit to look for answers. A sympathetic protagonist forces us to question our sympathies.
Violence & Scariness
Archival images of Nazi brutality are interspersed throughout. Starved prisoners are shown in Nazi concentration camps. Story recounts torture and murder of Nazi-held prisoners.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Misha and the Wolves is a surprising 2021 documentary that touches on images and descriptions of Nazi brutality against Jews and others during World War II. A Belgian woman in Massachusetts tells the story of her agonized childhood survival after the Nazis took her parents. While descriptions and images of violence from the era would be expected in a Holocaust documentary, this story takes a turn beyond, as the woman sues the publisher of her memoir and opens herself to scrutiny and the revelation of a devastating truth. Language includes "hell." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Unlike the dry recitation of facts that characterizes many documentaries, Misha and the Wolves is a lively, surprising film bursting with all the qualities that make great feature films great. All too often the trouble with a movie is that there's no one to root for, but this film offers one sympathetic character after another, and then snatches them away from us in a skillful cinematic magic act. The more information we receive, the more we are asked to alter our notions of who exactly is a hero and who is a villain, leaving us shocked and with a strange empathy for all.
Director Sam Hobkinson begins with a taut and riveting premise and then turns this well-made documentary into a kind of police procedural, with brilliant genealogist detectives combing Europe to find the truth, if a truth can be found. The movie is filled with unexpected twists that twist in on themselves. This is in many ways a tragic story of loss and an odd story of publicity-seeking as self-administered medicine for a broken spirit. Not to in any way make light of the experiences of survivors of any war, it's reasonable to suggest that alongside this film's central tragedy runs a uniquely near-comic narrative of titanic gall and almost criminal audacity wrapped around greed and exploitation. Hats off to director-writer Hobkinson for taking exactly the right tone throughout.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.