Plot - From IMDB - Reclusive country folk Bella and Hector become foster parents to Ricky, a problem child from the city. After some adjustment, things go reasonably well. However, Bella's death means that Hector must now look after Ricky himself, and they haven't been getting along. Moreover, her death causes Child Services to decide to send Ricky back to the orphanage. Ricky refuses to go back and runs away, ultimately sparking a national manhunt for him and Hector.—
Audience - The movie is intended for a general audience. It can be enjoyed by all ages from 10 and up. This review is written though for human service professionals.
Creative tension - The creative tension in Hunt for the Wilderpeople is derived from two sources. First Ricky Baker is a foster child, 13, who has been difficult to place and retain in a foster care setting.. How will he adjust to this new foster home, way out in the country, with Bella and Hector, a childless older couple. Bella is very motherly, almost grandmotherly, while Hector is antisocial and a curmudgeon. The second source of creative tension arises when Bella dies and Child Welfare Services writes a letter to Hector informing him that they will be coming to remove Ricky from his home now that Bella is dead. Ricky refuses to go back to child welfare, and Hector is upset that they don’t think he can raise a child without Bella. Hector and Ricky escape to the bush to avoid capture by Child Welfare authorities.
Moral of the Story - Family comes in multiple forms and Ricky and Hector have formed theirs no matter how unlikely and mismatched. Does their form of family coincide with community norms? No. But does it work and is it filled with love and caring? Yes.
Utility of the movie for human service professionals - To learn an appreciation for diversity in all its multiplicities. What conforms with social convention might not always be the best. In such cases do the nonconformists become outlaws? As outlaws do people evade, resist, and attack the forces of subjugation and oppression? As witnesses do we side with the conventional authorities or with the right to self determination of those the system would subjugate? In these dilemmas what is the appropriate ethical stance of the human service worker?
Recommendation - This film is highly recommended for its entertainment, and for its presentation of deeper ethical dilemmas. It earns a 5 out of 5.