Alma (Molly Kunz) is a twenty-something with a bright future. She is musically gifted, and when we first meet her in Gilles de Maistre’s “The Wolf and the Lion,” we sense she is seeking something else, something not currently a part of her present. Despite the beautiful music, de Maistre’s opening feels hurried, rushed. There is a sense of purpose in Alma’s movement and her surroundings.

De Maistre and co-writer Prune de Maistre instill a sense of privilege in Alma; Kunz is only too happy to play that role. However, de Maistre exchanges Alma’s rushed opening to an African savannah where a hunt for a lion cub is in progress. Details are slim as to why, and they become revealed as the film moves forward. Nevertheless, a lion cub is captured and put on a plane bound for North America, while at the same time, a hunt for an endangered species of wolf is on.

Alma’s home, or rather her recently deceased grandfather’s home, set on an isolated island in the Canadian forest, is the physical center of “The Wolf and the Lion.” Serge Desrosiers’ cinematography expertly captures the natural beauty and serenity of the wilderness surrounding Alma’s home, creating a sanctuary for lost souls.

Through the film’s story, de Maistre sets the stage for Alma to become the caretaker for the young wolf and the lost lion cub, respectively named Mozart and Dreamer by Alma. A familial bond forms between the three.

Family is a central nucleus to the meaning behind being a human being. I’ve commented before on how we need each other to survive the present and move toward the future, and “The Wolf and the Lion” attempts to exemplify this theme through its story, amping its drama up several notches.

Within this dramatic arc, “The Wolf and the Lion” loses its way. Kunz is very stand-offish, willful, and defiant. As Alma, she firmly believes in protecting the rights of animals to be accessible as others either give the appearance that they are putting the cubs in captivity or for other uses. Alma is just as stand-offish as her human counterparts, namely Joe, played by Graham Greene.

De Maistre contextualizes the relationships in the film through conflict. This effort is not just limited to Alma and her interactions with Joe, Mozart, and Dreamer, but with Charlie Carrick’s Eli and Evan Buliung’s Allan and his son, Rapha (Rhys Slack). The audience is never really made to feel threatened by Mozart or Dreamer, even when they become separated.

If anything, “The Wolf and the Lion” should remind us of the need to protect the limited resources we have and the varied species that inhabit this mortal coil we call Earth. One could be forgiven for the liberties the film takes concerning animal behaviors. The relationships in the movie come just a bit too easy, and if the drama wasn’t so loose, the reward at the film’s end might feel more earned.

Alas, it doesn’t.