THE DOCUMENTARY The Wolfpack opens on a boy sorting prop guns, reciting the name of the character to whom each weapon belongs: Mr. Orange, Mr. Pink, Mr. White. The Angulo brothers, cinephiles and shut-ins, are working on Reservoir Dogs.
The seven Angulo siblings—six boys, one girl—spent their childhoods confined to a four-bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side, kept indoors by parents paranoid about the dangers of the city. The brothers were home-schooled, barely socialized, and let outside only a handful of times a year—"one particular year," one boy says, "we never got out all."
Movies are the Angulo's connection to the outside world: They watch their favorites over and over, and create detailed, elaborate costumes and props to film their own reenactments—hence the prop guns. "If I didn't have movies, life would be pretty boring, and there wouldn't be any point to go on," says one. They communicate in movie quotes, especially when they're excited or nervous—dropping into goofy accents that clearly have some cinematic provenance. They're every film-obsessed kid you remember from middle school, if that kid had been raised in a closet stocked with VHS tapes.
First-time director Crystal Moselle is the first guest to have ever been invited to Angulos' apartment. She met them on one of their rare excursions out of their home and bonded over their shared interest in film. When she visits, they make spaghetti. She's clearly enthralled by these boys, and it's easy to see why: They're bright, sincere, articulate. Rather than wallow in the details of their insane childhood, Moselle focuses on their creativity, their camaraderie, and the pleasure they derive from their wide-eyed forays into the outside world. The results are funny, life-affirming, and surprisingly, dazzlingly inspiring.