‘The Mother’ Ending Explained: Zoe’s Father, Wolf Symbolism & More

‘The Mother’ Ending Explained: Zoe’s Father, Wolf Symbolism & More

The Mother, a Netflix original movie, showcases Jennifer Lopez as a formidable action star, but the film’s ending raises several unresolved issues. 

The movie, which premiered on the streaming platform on May 12th, 2023, revolves around the protagonist who defends her alienated daughter from ruthless criminals who seek to abduct her. In addition to its impressive action, The Mother also incorporates profound themes that distinguish it from its peers.

The ending of the film is quite complete. The Mother has a visible growth in her character and other characters get their deserved ending as well. Here’s what the ending meant for the characters in the film. 

1. What do the wolves in The Mother signify? 

In addition to being a fast-paced action film, The Mother also incorporated a salient theme that unfolded throughout the story. As shown early on in the movie, The Mother is reluctant to injure a mother wolf even though she has no hesitation about hunting, or even killing other humans. 

Apart from the fact that killing the wolf would be pointless, The Mother even refrained from harming the wolf when it presented as a serious danger to her and Zoe

In many ways, the mother wolf is a metaphor for The Mother herself, and the symbolism becomes more profound as the film advances.

‘The Mother’ Ending Explained: Zoe’s Father, Wolf Symbolism & More
The Wolf in The Mother | Source: IMDb

In the mother wolf, The Mother not only recognizes a reflection of her own motherhood, but she also confronts the relentless harshness of nature as well. 

When the mother wolf was later found to be wounded by some mishap, The Mother declined to offer assistance because she regarded that as the natural order of life

Even for the sake of the pups, she refused to intervene, which demonstrated how she perceived her own tough upbringing that required her to survive on her own or die. Jennifer Lopez’ best movies have made her a movie star, but in The Mother, she was presented with a character possessing real depth.

2. The Significance of Kate Bush’s Song at the End

After reuniting Zoe with her foster family at the end of The Mother, it is eventually disclosed that The Mother was not absent from her daughter’s life, but she essentially acted as Zoe’s guardian angel. 

‘The Mother’ Ending Explained: Zoe’s Father, Wolf Symbolism & More
Jennifer Lopez in The Mother | Source: IMDb

Accentuating the emotional reveal is the melodious voice of British pop star Kate Bush, whose poignant song, “This Woman’s Work”, persists over the final scene and into the credits. 

The song addresses unforeseen challenges in motherhood, and certainly reflects The Mother’s own struggles as a parent. Although other pop stars like Grimes and Daddy Yankee featured on the film’s soundtrack, Bush’s unique ballad had the most powerful emotional impact.

Netflix had previously achieved great success by using Kate Bush’s music in their immensely popular show Stranger Things, and the accomplished singer is well acquainted with having her music featured in movies and TV shows. 

However, the use of the song “This Woman’s Work” in The Mother’s conclusion not only emphasized the brilliant song but also related to the emotional ending itself and to the character of The Mother. Although The Mother’s life had been a struggle up to that point, Kate Bush’s gentle voice and lyrics suggested that her life had certainly softened and found stability.

3. Who was Zoe’s father in The Mother?

Much was left ambiguous in The Mother and its conclusion, and the identity of Zoe’s father was deliberately left unresolved. Like The Mother herself who is unnamed, Zoe’s father is unnamed as well, though the candidates were essentially reduced to two men. 

It was implied that The Mother had a relationship with both Hector and Adrian, and it can be inferred that those two men are the only plausible candidates for Zoe’s father. Hector mostly displayed indifference towards Zoe being his daughter, but Adrian seemed to assume that he was the father all along.

‘The Mother’ Ending Explained: Zoe’s Father, Wolf Symbolism & More
Adrian and Hector | Source: Netflix

Going so far as to refer to Zoe as his and The Mother’s child, Adrian was not only driven by his vengeance against The Mother, but he went through a lot of trouble to retrieve Zoe. 

It was evident that The Mother knew who the father was, but she chose not to disclose that information because both options were undesirable. In the end, it didn’t really matter who Zoe’s father was because she had a formidable protector in the form of her mother who would literally stop at nothing to keep her safe.

4. The Climax Scene of The Mother Explained

With Adrian and his team of skilled thugs vanquished, The Mother finally felt it was safe enough to return Zoe to her foster family. They were reunited at a church, and, as The Mother left, she passed a statue of an angel carrying a cross. 

The very next scene showed the mother keeping a close eye on Zoe from a nearby apartment, and on her wrist, she was wearing a handmade bracelet that said “mom”. 

Not only did the final shot suggest that The Mother would always protect Zoe like a guardian angel, but it also disclosed that she had finally embraced the emotional aspects of being a mother to Zoe.

5. The Character Arc of The Mother

Although the film presented The Mother as an unstoppable hero of epic proportions, the ending proved that there was more to being a mother than simply being a protector

After her fall down the hill, The Mother saw the wolf standing on a rock looking down on her, and it acted as her motivation to carry on. It was also meant to teach her a lesson that softness could sometimes be just as powerful as strength. 

‘The Mother’ Ending Explained: Zoe’s Father, Wolf Symbolism & More
The Mother | Source: IMDb

Zoe had shown compassion for the stranded wolf pups earlier in the film, and it stood in stark contrast to The Mother’s necessary harshness.

Action films require their heroes to be killing machines with no emotions, but The Mother’s new-found connection with her daughter Zoe taught her more than she could ever teach her child. 

Her life in the military had trained her how to be an effective weapon, but true compassion was something that she was missing. The ending of The Mother showed that her character arc was complete, and that she had found balance between her role as protector and her role as a loving figure for Zoe.

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6. About The Mother

The Mother is a 2023 American action thriller film directed by Niki Caro with a screenplay by Misha Green, Andrea Berloff and Peter Craig, from a story by Green. The film stars Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Lucy Paez, Omari Hardwick, Paul Raci, and Gael García Bernal.

The film revolves around a mother who has to protect her daughter Zoe from her foes at all costs. The Mother was released on May 12, 2023, by Netflix to mixed reviews from critics.