The Daily Stream: Nothing Is As It Seems In The Documentary 'Misha And The Wolves'

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The MovieMisha and the Wolves

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: A Belgian immigrant named Misha Defonseca tells her harrowing story: when she was a child during World War II, her parents were arrested by the Nazis, and Misha was taken in by a Catholic family. But Misha was determined to find her mother and father, and so one day she set out on foot, walking across the countryside and into the forest. Eventually, she came across a pack of wolves. Rather than face danger from the animals, Misha became one of the pack, living with the wolves in the wild. Right about now you're probably thinking, "Some of this sounds unlikely!" Well...

Why It's Essential ViewingMisha and the Wolves is a fascinating, and sometimes frustrating documentary that will appeal to true crime fans. It's not really a true crime doc, but it has that same sort of mysterious vibe, and director Sam Hobkinson loads the narrative up with plenty of twists and turns. So much so that it's impossible to talk about Misha and the Wolves without giving away some spoilers. So, you've been warned.

You've probably already guessed the biggest twist of all: Misha's story was bullshit. Her parents weren't rounded up by the Nazis, and she did not become a feral wolf-girl, living with a pack of friendly wolves. Unfortunately, it took a long time for many people to realize the truth. Instead, Misha's story was first turned into a book, and then a French movie. That resulted in plenty of attention and acclaim, and the story was on the cusp of becoming even bigger when Misha was booked on Oprah Winfrey's show to have the book – titled Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years – become part of Oprah's Book Club.

Then everything came crashing down.

Misha and the Wolves takes its time laying all its cards on the table, and while I understand why – it makes for a better story! – it can also be mighty frustrating. Mostly because even if you don't enter in the film knowing the twist you're going to figure it out pretty quickly, which means it's going to feel like you're waiting for the movie to catch up to you.

Still, it's easy to get wrapped up in the story, and the doc is filled with plenty of colorful characters: Misha's publisher, who was clearly in over her head; the owner of a wolf sanctuary who meets Misha during a photo-op; one Misha's neighbors; and an actual Holocaust survivor and genealogist who starts playing detective to try to get to the bottom of things.

Some of Hobkinson's stylistic choices are going to rub folks the wrong way, but ultimately, Misha and the Wolves is such a fascinating story of deception that you're going to get caught up in the mystery. But don't expect too many answers. You may learn the truth behind Misha's story, but understanding why she did what she did is bound to remain a mystery.