This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Rafi Krespin’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Me watching the trailer: That lamb kid is creepy.
Me watching the movie: I’ve only known Ada for an hour and a half but if anything ever happened to her I’d kill everyone in this room and then myself.
Give that momma ewe an Oscar and call her Meryl Sheep.
Now the actual review:
A huge portion of viewers are going to find Lamb prolonged and boring; perhaps that’s partly on A24 for how they branded it. Do not go in anticipating outright horror, because this as a slow-burn surreal atmosphere piece.
With all that out of the way, I loved it. Like most A24 films, the pacing is part of the method. To avoid sharing explicit contextual details about his characters, Jóhannsson rather drops breadcrumbs through double meanings and visual cues, but you have to be paying attention. This is done so he can maintain and hide both threads of the story, the loss/grief before Ada arrives, and Ada herself. The first chapter is the slowest, but it succeeded in simulating the emptiness/void in the marriage, and we feel that as the audience.
What we get here is the silent terror of grief/loss, specifically the loss of a child and what it does to a relationship. All three characters are striving to carry on through their trauma. Ada is a tool for that process, which is why Ingvar and Maria accept her without hesitation, and why Petur isn't able to pull the trigger. Ada is a way to experience the “before” (time travel conversation), but you can't live in the before eternally when it comes to grief.
People seem to find the conclusion wanting, but I think that plays on the grief theme. People desire the comfort of closure, of the grief being over, like an overt acknowledgement that it’s okay to live again, but loss doesn't really work like that. It’s something you get used to day by day. And at the end, they were all punished for their hubris.
Beautifully filmed. Stellar performances. The marketing should have been more honest, but then again, if you go into an A24 film expecting conventional narrative beats, that’s also on you.