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Parents' Guide to

The Wolves (Los Lobos)

By Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Mexican immigration family drama has swearing, drug use.

Movie NR 2020 95 minutes
The Wolves movie poster

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Writer-director Samuel Kishi said this moving Mexican immigration drama is a love letter to his mother, who immigrated to the U.S. with him and his brother. This experience clearly helped let the warmth shine through The Wolves (aka Los Lobos) and saves it from potential pitfalls of exploitation or sensationalization. Yet despite its tenderness, the film readily shows the harsh realities that immigrants often face. People who have lived these experiences will recognize them. Those who have not will be enlightened to struggles they might never encounter. Upon arriving in Albuquerque, with no papers and no income, Lucia (a Reyes Arias) has to find a home for her and her two boys. We accompany them to unsuitable apartments before settling on the best of a bad bunch. The first thing Lucia does is scrub away the filth before leaving to look for work. Everything is done in service of her kids, from working multiple jobs to sleeping in the tub, for now she exists only for them.

Reyes Arias' performance is not the only one of note. Young real-life brothers Maximiliano and Leonardo Nájar Márquez, who expect Disneyland but get an impoverished, lawless district, are great company. While Cici Lau is excellent as the caring landlady who takes them under her wing. Occasional animated interludes remind us that although The Wolves is realistic, it's not reality. The viewer is protected from the true possibilities but sent away with an increased empathy for the plights of others.

Movie Details

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