Let’s find happiness.
We got ourselves an odd one this time folks.
Lamb is a sentimental fairytale about a couple Maria (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snaer Guonason accents incorrect, sorry Hilmir) who find a strange lamb after helping the sheep give a difficult birth. They decide to keep the lamb and raise it as their own child.
If you haven’t seen this one, I’d avoid spoilers. I’m going to try to keep it vague here but be warned that something may be revealed accidentally. The biggest thing to know is that this is not a horror film. It was terribly mis-marketed and those wanting something scary will be disappointed. It is a fairytale.
Minor spoilers ahead.
We follow our couple through a beautifully shot and well-acted story where inexplicably a lamb is born with a human body. That’s really about it for the film…
There is a genre confusion in the film. On the one hand, we have horror elements that make the whole thing feel a little uneasy. We also get this idea of demanding sacrifices to keep the happiness around, but these ideas aren’t present much. The vast majority of the film seems to focus on the dynamic of the Other and what it means to be part of the in-group vs. out-group. There is something here to explore, but it is all thumbs here.
Whenever the film seems to be veering into a discussion of what Ada’s existence means, or how it juxtaposes to other animals, we end up retracting back into quasi folk-horror mode. It seems like the team had an idea for a film but then remembered they were meant to make a horror film. For those who have seen it, how else would you explain the forced ending?
In the end, I found myself having enjoyed the visual and narrative experience while also thinking the whole thing was a bit dumb. My opinion hasn’t changed over the few days I’ve hemmed and hawed at getting this review written. Visually, it is a masterpiece. The acting is phenomenal. However, it is just weird with the two tones trying to work in concert with one another.
The whole thing needs to be split in half and made into two separate films. We don’t fully explore either side enough for a completely successful experience. However, to contradict the previous statement, the film is gorgeous.
Maybe I’ll warm to it in time. Maybe I’ll forget about it.