Wolf Ending: Lily-Rose Depp And George MacKay Break Down The ‘Heartbreaking’ Conclusion

SPOILERS are ahead for Wolf

Nathalie Biancheri’s high-concept drama Wolf takes its audience inside a facility where a group of young people struggle with the identities they feel inside and the society they live in. The newest patient, George MacKay’s Jacob, who believes himself to be a wolf, meets Lily-Rose Depp’s Wildcat, and they bond over the idea of embodying who they truly believe they are. And yet, the Wolf ending may surprise audiences when they don’t go in the same direction. 

Wolf 's last moments have a bittersweetness and open-ended feeling to them, as Jacob decides to run away into the unknown to live out his life as we’d assume a wolf, whereas Wildcat stays back and remains at the facility. When CinemaBlend spoke to Lily-Rose Depp about how things play out, she shared her own thoughts on Wolf's ending: 

To me, the ending is really the crescendo of what is really the heartbreaking possibility of Jacob and Wildcat’s story. Our director described it in this beautiful way where they are so connected but also as if they’re looking at each other and seeing each other through a glass window. There’s an impossibility to their relationship, which I think is part of why it makes it so strong, so beautiful and so heartbreaking. The end broke my heart, I cried when I read the end in the script, but I think as heartbreaking as it is, I think it’s the only ending there could have been.

Jacob and Wildcat find some acceptance and solace in one another throughout Wolf, but by the end, they have different paths. George MacKay said this to CinemaBlend about how he sees the movie’s meaning: 

I think the story is one of self discovery and a commitment to those discoveries and I think that on the whole is a very positive message. But I think what I love about the film is it’s nuanced and complex in a sense that in order to get to those greater goods and personal journeys, it does often cost some of the relationships and loved ones around you and the fact that it is part of the end of the film I thought was very important as well.

Wolf tells a fictionalized story based on a real experience true to some called “species dysphoria.” Species dysphoria involves the belief of one's body being the wrong species. As MacKay shared, the movie is ultimately about self discovery, and in that sense, it makes sense that as the credits roll Jacob and Wildcat are not together. They both had to make their own decisions about how they wanted to move forward with their lives based on their experiences. Jacob chose to embrace the wild, whereas Wildcat stayed with what she knew. Depp continued with these words: 

Even in life, people come into your life at a certain moment for a certain reason and as heartbreaking as the truth is, not everyone stays in your life forever and I think they really help each other on their journey, like George was saying, of finding who they really are and committing to that and accepting that and loving that, and maybe that means that they’re not going to have a practical life together but I think it means they cross paths in a very meaningful way at the right time.

Wolf asked a lot of commitment from its leading actors, who had to learn to walk and sound like the animals their characters identify as. Writer/director Nathalie Biancheri told CinemaBlend that the audition process was “mad,” but when she saw Lily-Rose Depp, she had an instinct that the actress could really play into this “feline” aura she believes the actress gives off. 

Nathalie Biancheri was looking for absolute “commitment” from her actors, and in turn, Depp and George MacKay won their roles and worked with a movement choreographer, Terry Notary, who has famously worked on films like Avengers: Endgame and Avatar. MacKay really delved into the research for Wolf, additionally reading books on what humans understand of wolves and watching a number of nature documentaries. 

Wolf is available on PVOD this Wednesday, December 22. You can check out what movies are coming out next year with CinemaBlend's 2022 new movie release schedule

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.