Directed by Ross Partridge
Lamb, based on the novel by Bonnie Nadzam, traces the self-discovery of David Lamb in the weeks following the disintegration of his marriage and the death of his father. Hoping to regain some faith in his own goodness, he turns his attention to Tommie, an awkward and unpopular eleven-year-old girl. Lamb is convinced that he can help her avoid a destiny of apathy and emptiness, and takes Tommie for a road trip from Chicago to the Rockies, planning to initiate her into the beauty of the mountain wilderness. The journey shakes them in ways neither expects.
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★★★★ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
★★★½ review by Brandon Hart on Letterboxd
97 minutes of unease and emotional worry, boldly addressing the inevitability of life and scenarios we find ourselves in (here it's a morally bankrupt one). We watch two people, far different but internally similar, confronting their individual realities with results they know are imminent. We watch a tree fall down, instead analyzing both the force that made it fall and the ground it lands on. All of this is present in a (supremely) disturbing narrative that isn't condoned by the film surrounding it, and still shakes us to our cores with its ideas. It's impossible to stop thinking about, really, because of the line it walks so bravely.
This is a super controversial one, a discomfort machine, with fascinating discussions to be had after watching (I can speak from experience on that front). Under any director other than Ross Partridge, this might have been disgustingly exploitative, but he makes it about so many more things than just what's onscreen. When the credits roll, you're not sure what to feel. It took me a solid hour of reflection to come to some finality.
If you've seen it, and want to see further thoughts, here's a Twitter discussion I had with Per M. Mjolkaraaen: twitter.com/filmfanwa/status/698989356866891776
★★★★ review by willy on Letterboxd
more unsetteling by the minute
i got my own interpretation for it though. great acting. effective ending
★★★★★ review by J.P. Vitale on Letterboxd
This is probably my favorite movie of 2016 right now, which is not really saying much since it's only January 14th but veteran actor Ross Partridge's "Lamb" is a subtle, nuanced tale of a very unconventional romance (a non-sexual romance FYI but definitely a romance).
I used to always joke that there should be a romantic comedy (or, in this case, a romantic drama) starring Mickey Rourke and Elle Fanning. That never happened but "Lamb" is probably as close as we'll ever get to that.
Oona Laurence is incredible in this movie, Oscar worthy even, as Tommie, an 11-year old girl who strikes up a romantic (though, again, non-sexual) relationship with a 47-year old man who just lost his father, his wife and his job.
If a romantic drama about an 11-year old girl and a 47-year old man doesn't interest you in the least then skip it like the plague but personally, I feel this was a story that needed to be told, and at the right time too.
Well worth the wait.
★★★½ review by Glen Grunau on Letterboxd
In the sweet innocence and tender beauty of a child the face of God can be discovered. So it is no surprise to me how often I have encountered adults who in their brokenness look to their children for their salvation.
What happens when you bring together such a broken and damaged man and a vulnerable child deprived of love? This movie.
Endearing at one level but deeply troubling at another, with a strong cringe factor. I am still trying to decide how I feel about this disturbing movie. Maybe this is the greatest testament to its success.
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