Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Misha Defonseca in the documentary Misha and the Wolves.

Courtesy of Hot Docs

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.

  • Misha and the Wolves
  • Directed by Sam Hobkinson
  • Classification PG; 90 minutes
  • Streaming on Netflix starting Aug. 11

Critic’s pick


For those looking for a midsummer jolt of real-life drama that doesn’t involve the Olympics or the word “variant,” here is director Sam Hobkinson’s jaw-dropping documentary Misha and the Wolves. It helps when your doc subject is blessed with a stranger-than-strange starting point: during the Second World War, the seven-year-old Misha Defonseca loses her parents to the Nazis, flees to the forest and is taken in by a pack of wild wolves, who apparently raise her as one of their own, Jungle Book style.

Story continues below advertisement

That’s one helluva hook, but Hobkinson is only getting started, unspooling a twist-a-minute story that manages to smooth out a jagged history that encompasses everything from Second World War resistance fighters, suburban American neighbourhood feuds, the queasier corners of the publishing industry and Oprah Winfrey. Throughout it all, Hobkinson never once lets Defonseca’s increasingly off-the-rails story escape his narrative control. Misha and the Wolves is as much a documentary as it is a wrestling match: filmmaker versus subject, truth versus fiction. Ultimately, the viewer comes out the winner.

In the interest of consistency across all critics’ reviews, The Globe has eliminated its star-rating system in film and theatre to align with coverage of music, books, visual arts and dance. Instead, works of excellence will be noted with a Critic’s Pick designation across all coverage.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies