Thursday, March 15, 2012


Wolf may be one of the best films of the SXSW Film Festival this year. Director's Ya'Ke Smith's feature length directoral debut is an emotional powerhouse about a family going through the difficult trials of faith and justice. Jordan Cooper plays Carl, a young boy who is molested by his local Bishop (Eugene Lee). The young boy becomes confused and thinks it is an act of love and accepts the bishop's improprieties. When the bishop attempts to separate himself from the young boy and fight his inner demons, Carl takes the "break-up" hard and tries to kill himself. The story develops around Carl's struggle to come to grips with his molestation at the hands of a trusted man, his feelings of what love is or should be, his mother's enduring love, and his father's frustration and guilt. The story is as much about the family as the crime which makes it a touching movie, not just a sad and depressing one.

The story was very good and very well written (also by Ya'Ke Smith). It touched on the struggle the families of these tragedies go through and how they make it to the other side with love. It also explains the unending circle of violence and sickness through child molestation and how the cycle continues for people who refuse to deal with it or have the love of family to help guide the victim back to the light.

The acting was incredible. During the Q&A, it was revealed that the director had the family, Jordan Cooper (Carl), Mikala Gibson (mom), and Shelton Jolevette (dad) spend about a month doing "family outings" and picnics to get to know each other. When they would meet they would all set into their roles in the family. This type of training worked beautifully and you could really feel true love between the cast members and what seemed like real pain. This type of closeness conveyed to the screen and made for a powerful ride.

I would highly recommend this movie, and have. I truly hope this gets picked up by a studio. Either way, I think the cast and the director have an exciting road ahead of them and I look forward to seeing more of their performances. I give this movie 4 stars out of 5. Go see this movie!

Movie poster from:


  1. Thanks so much for the great review. It’s really validating as an artist when critics not only like your work, but when they see what you saw and even give new insight.

    One typo you have and I wanted you to please change it. Nona was played by Mikala Gibson not Monique Straw.

    Thanks again for the review and the team and I are glad you dug the film!

  2. Thanks for catching that typo! I will change that. Is this Ya'Ke Smith- the director? If it is, I have to say, that you made an incredible film with an incredible cast. I enjoyed the movie and will be talking it up to get everyone I know to see it! Congratulations on a great work of art!

    1. Yes, this is me. Thanks so much for the review. I'm so glad you liked it. Talk it up. Talk it up. Talk it up. I want everyone to see it. Thanks again.

  3. This movie left me with pity and sorrow instead of contempt for the Bishop, which is a testament of the thought and quality that went into making the film. The acting was truly superb and the contradictions experienced by this family transcend race and religion, although it was refreshing to see an African-American family portrayed with such depth and character. This was one of the best films I've seen lately, a must-see.