Lone Wolf


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Lone Wolf
"Directing with a light touch, January Jones coaxes fresh, natural performances from her stars." | Photo: Courtesy of SQIFF

A sweet yet sharply observed take on Australian girlhood, this coming of age story plays with tropes we’ve seen before (not least in Neil Jordan’s Angela Carter adaptation The Company Of Wolves but does it well. It’s not that the special effects are anything to write home about, or that it has anything at all to offer gore fans, but the characters are wonderfully true to life and, for once, everybody gets what they deserve.

Sam (Freya Van Dyke) is going to a party. Escorting her all the way to the door, her mother, who doesn’t know the host, asks if she’s nice in a manner which suggests that Sam has been bullied in the past. “Yes,” Sam says. In fact, Willow (Izabella Measham-Park) is pretty much the girl of her dreams, but that’s a hell of a lot to navigate at such a vulnerable stage in life, especially when she has other difficult issues to deal with.

Directing with a light touch, January Jones (not the actress) coaxes fresh, natural performances from her stars. The pettiness of teenage hierarchies pushes its way to the front but can’t monopolise the viewer’s attention, any more than Sam’s, as it becomes clear that strange things are happening to her body. Mean girl Blair (Mackenzie Mazur) only sees the things she expects to see. Is her cruelty in danger of becoming irrelevant? Deftly exposed, out of her depth, she suddenly seems as vulnerable as any of the others.

Screening at the 2021 Scottish Queer International Film Festival, Lone Wolf suggests that far from making one an outcast, growing up different can lead to unexpected connections and provide a route out of stifling conventionality. Growing up is messy and peculiar but it has its plus points.

Reviewed on: 08 Oct 2021
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Determined to fit in at a sleepover, 15-year-old Sam ignores cruel taunts from mean girl Blair and her growing feelings for Willow, but she can't ignore the strange things happening to her body.

Director: January Jones

Writer: January Jones

Starring: Joanne Booth, Charlotte Cook, Fletcher, Karla Hillam, Josh Jay

Year: 2019

Runtime: 7 minutes

Country: Australia


SQIFF 2021

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