Buckle up for some bad news: This documentary about a feral child is 20 minutes from the end, and things do not seem to be on the upswing for the feral child.
Yikes. If this story is going to conclude on a happy note, it’s going to have to happen fast—and that’s looking less and less likely as the minutes go on.
The film, entitled Wild Girl, tells the tragic tale of a child named Kayla who was raised in near-isolation until the age of 8, leaving her completely unable to speak, interact, or even move around normally. Kayla’s prospects were looking good in the first 30 or so minutes of the documentary, where we were introduced to a dedicated team of psychologists and doctors coming together to help assimilate her back into society. But with less than a fifth of the film left, they’re still showing a lot of ominous black-and-white footage of Kayla biting her adoptive mother, and the speech therapist who had been trying to teach her English hasn’t appeared on screen for at least half an hour.
Yeah, this seems like it’s going to end up being a pretty big bummer. The clip that showed Kayla trying to rip apart a DVD copy of Moana means the documentary had to have been made within the past couple years—and the chances that Kayla figured out how to use a toilet between then and now are starting to look slim.
The arc of the film has gotten increasingly dark as the experts being interviewed have stopped talking about having hope for Kayla’s future and started instead saying that her case has “taught them a lot.” The best shot for a happy ending at this point would be a post-credits text slide explaining that, since the film ended production, Kayla was able to enroll in a regular school and socialize normally with her peers. But even that would be a lot to hope for given that the last shot just showed Kayla trying to climb out of her dad’s car’s sunroof in the middle of the highway.
The clock is ticking, and things do not seem to be on the up-and-up for Kayla. We’re hoping the filmmakers pull off an incredible turnaround story in the last few minutes here, because otherwise, this documentary about a feral child is not going to end well.