WOLF Fails To Deliver

Jacob (George Mackay) is being admitted to a clinic that treats lycanthropy. This place
takes in children who believe that they are animals. Jacob believes that he is a wolf, his
parents just want to have their child returned, behaving like a human. This premise does
bring up questions about souls, spirits, is this because of psychological harm that the
child has received, or were they “born this way”?

The Zookeeper, Psychologist (Paddy Considine) runs the program at the clinic.
The doctor has made a name for himself and the clinic, by having the reputation of being
able to cure Children with these identity disorders. The classes are sorted into groups,
they have group therapy, run by Dr. Angeli (Eileen Walsh). The Doctor has the patients
run through various lessons to connect as humans as Jacob continues his stay, he
initially is doing his best to connect with his human side during the day. At night he fights
his instinct to be a wolf.

Since his first day, he had been curious about a girl who seems to go about the clinic
and has free reign of the compound where they live. She has been there for quite a long
time and believes that she is a Wildcat (Lily-Rose Depp). Jacob becomes acquainted
with her during his first night as a wolf wandering the facility. He had been fighting the
urge to free himself to be what he believes that he truly is. Wildcat has access to the
keys and wanders the halls. She helps Jacob go outside to feel the air, see the stars,
and howl.

His group consists of a girl who believes that she is a parrot. Another one, a horse, a
spider, a panda. The boys, a german shepherd, a squirrel, and a duck. We see the group
being led by Dr. Angeli. The exercises are gentle, such as dancing, working on being
able to identify as human, trying to distinguish the differences in animal versus human.
As Jacob and Wildcat indulge in their animal personas, he is the wolf. The Zookeeper
sees the transformation and will not tolerate what he sees as defiance to his
commands. In order to have control of the situation, He escalates the treatments to
what has been used against actual wild animals. Jacob is caged, tazed, treated horribly.
The Zookeeper begins to show the cracks in his personality and becomes more like the

There are questions that come up while watching the film. The thought that this is an
allegory that compares with people growing up, feeling that they are in the wrong body.
Is it possible that Jacob and fellow patients are actually animal souls placed in a human
body? George Mackay’s transformation is very well done. The mental struggle to be
normal and live happily in society instead of living instinctually as the wolf he is. This art-house

film from Focus Features falls flat in the storyline. This is Jacob’s story, but the
entire group could have been fleshed out more. I wanted to know about the girl who was
the spider, the panda girl could have shown how she lived.

The movie does inspire questions as to what story the director/writer Nathalie Biancheri
was trying to tell. Is it about reincarnation and not being in the correct body? Or is it
about mental illness, human cruelty? The Zookeeper is shown as disingenuous as the
film develops. We do see the dark side, not the benign Dr that greets the parents.
Interesting concept, however, not enough to make me choose to watch.

2 out of 5 stars