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Two siblings escape the grasp of their abusive father and go in search of the elder’s mother in Bretten Hannam’s road movie.
Teenager Link (Phillip Lewitski) and their younger half-brother Travis (Avery Winters-Anthony) live with their abusive father Arvin (Joel Thomas Hynes). A two-spirit Mi’kmaw teenager, Link is ashamed of their heritage, dying their hair in an attempt to conceal it. But they are also tired of Arvin’s threats of violence. When they have a run-in with the law, Link is beaten unconscious by police. Arvin offers no consolation and so they decide to run away. But breaking into Arvin’s room to steal his car keys, they find a note from their mother, Sarah, who they had been led to believe was dead. Now they have a reason to run and with Travis in tow – soon becoming a trio with the addition of Mi’kmaw teen Pasmay (Joshua Odjick), who takes a shine to Link – they go in search of Sarah and a better future.
Hannam’s sophomore feature is a markedly confident leap from their debut, North Mountain. Adapted by the filmmaker from his 2019 short Wildfire, Wildhood captures the beauty of the Canadian landscape. But the visuals never lose focus on the interaction of the three runaways, balancing knockabout humour with tension as the characters acknowledge the stakes at play in running away.