This movie didn't make me cry, which is usually how I determine how much I like these sorts of things. So it loses some points from that. I've also heard some people critique this movie for being 'rambly and unfocused', which, okay, it totally was. It covers 13~ years and kind of just keeps going. But I'd consider it a bildingsroman of sorts, and those are always pretty rambly so I wasn't bothered by it overmuch.
The movie starts off with Hana (the mother character) and the ~mysterious~ werewolf man falling in love, though why they decided to do so wasn't given much attention. Their relationship kind of reminded me of one of those teen paranormal romances (like Shiver). Hana describes him as 'different from all the other guys', so I'd guess she's mainly in love with the idea of him- dangerous and mysterious and different. She probably had a pretty boring life up til now. As for why he reciprocates- maybe she just followed him around until he gave in? It's unclear, and honestly from my perspective their relationship doesn't really matter- it's all just set-up for Hana's relationship with her children and the actual meat of the story, so even though I didn't particularly enjoy this section, it didn't affect my overall enjoyment too much.
Also: Furry Alert. After he tells her what he is, they have sex while he's in some weird half-wolf/half-man form. Hello! TURN BACK INTO A DUDE BEFORE YOU STICK YOUR DICK IN HER- I DO NOT NEED THAT MENTAL IMAGE. Luckily the scene is very short and doesn't show anything. But still. Ew.
The other thing I didn't like too much was the ending. The nature-boy subplot did absolutely nothing for me (even though the forest was gorgeous).
Between these two 'meh' bookends, though, was pure gold and filled with eyecandy scenery. I especially loved the gruff farmers and the family's gradual integration into the small rural community they move into. I thought the growth of the children was really well-executed, and loved seeing how certain events drastically altered their future personalities and paths.
I'm afraid if I go on for much longer, this section will just turn into mindless fangirling, so I'll cut it short: the middle sections were excellent, and since they take up at least 4/5 of the film, I heartily recommend this. It's a really fun blend of agonizing realism (absolutely everything that can go wrong does) tempered by perserverance and love, and finished off with the perfect amount of magic.
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