The Icelandic folk-horror/fantasy film, Lamb, starring Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snær Guonason, debuted at Cannes Film Festival in July 2021 and has since received a staggered release worldwide. Audience members have been subjected to its haunting yet beautiful images and themes, with many considering it a movie with a lot to ponder over.
Distributed in the US by A24, a studio known for such movies as Hereditary and Uncut Gems, Lamb possesses qualities similar to what is expected from an A24 film, despite not being produced by them. Its complex metaphors and subtle, inventive storytelling has led many viewers to craft their own theories about the movie, some more believable than others, and have since discussed them on Reddit.
7 Ingvar Is Ada’s Father
While Lamb is not likely to make it into the highest-grossing A24 movies, its modest box-office haul thus far (according to Box Office Mojo) indicates there are a lot of viewers who no doubt left the screening with questions. A major mystery that the movie prompts throughout is about the parentage of Ada, the half-sheep, half-human hybrid that is adopted by Maria and Ingvar. Ada’s mother is the sheep from who she is born, yet her father is not revealed until the final scene of the movie.
While Lamb makes it fairly clear that Ada’s father is the Ram Man that murdered Ingvar and took Ada with him, Redditor InvisibleDudle states: “I still 100% think Ingvar was the father.” While it is a fair conclusion to come to, in a bizarrely logical sense, that Ingvar could be the human part of Ada’s DNA, the movie, while not specifically saying so, does heavily suggest that the Ram Man is the biological father of Ada and believes she belongs to him. As a result, this theory does lose most of its credibility.
6 Ram Man Represents The Horror Of Reality
Filmmaker Valdimar Jóhannsson has stated, in conversation with Below The Line, that he personally does not see the film as fitting within the horror genre, yet he invites viewers to determine the genre on their own terms. While the horror elements are slim, the final scene of the movie is arguably terrifying.
Jóhannsson’s openness to audience members drawing their own conclusions speaks to the film’s evocation of potentially several themes. In the horrifying final scene, Ram Man shoots Ingvar in the neck. Redditor thetruthteller argues that “Ram Man was reality incarnate, and made everyone pay for their delusions.” It is an appropriate conclusion to come to given the fact that the couple did take Ada from her parents, and it also affirms the horror elements of the scene. Lamb could be seen as a twisted fairy tale, and what is more horrifying than a fairy tale being ruined by harsh reality?
5 Lamb Is A Tale Of Christianity
Since mythology and religion inspire much of popular culture (Star Wars, etc.), it is certainly worthwhile to compare a seemingly matter-of-fact story like Lamb to stories that are almost constantly referenced and used in wider media. Despite the movie’s simple plot about a couple who adopt a human/sheep hybrid only to lose it tragically to its biological heritage, it is evident that the movie invites further digging into its complex meaning.
Many viewers have since discovered comparisons to Christianity within the story, with Reddit user lkodl writing that”Ram Man is Satan, Ada is the Antichrist, Maria wants to be Mary.” Lamb‘s incorporation of mythological creatures does invoke this comparison to creatures described within the Christian tradition, and with the film taking place at Christmas time, it is possible that writer/director Valdimar Jóhannsson intended said comparison.
4 Ada Is A Replacement Of Their Dead Child
Like all of A24’s greatest films to date, Lamb, in its fairly simple narrative, evokes numerous themes and leads to several fan theories. One such theory is one that is hard to disagree with, considering how strongly the movie implies it. Ada is described by Maria as “a gift,” and their situation is called “happiness” by Ingvar.
These descriptions, along with several other nods and remarks, heavily suggest that Ada is a replacement of sorts for their previously deceased child. Reddit user YesHunty writes: “I think their first daughter died around the same age that Ada is shown at.” It is an appropriate conclusion to come to as a scene late in the film shows Maria at the grave of “Ada,” and as this user goes on to point out, the couple has children’s clothes in their possession for Ada to wear.
3 Pétur Made A Deal With Ram Man
Much of the plot of Lamb revolves around a love triangle between Maria, Ingvar, and his brother, Pétur. Maria and Ingvar, for a portion of the movie, are entirely happy with their newfound family in Ada, and this happiness is almost interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Pétur.
Not only did Pétur witness Maria killing Ada’s biological mother, but he was also evidently part of a previous affair with Maria. Early on in his arrival, he takes Ada out during the night and points a shotgun at her head. Reddit user Historical-Bear-238 believes that “he met Ram Man and made a deal.” This is a very interesting theory, as it explains why Pétur had a sudden change of heart and treated Ada like family. Perhaps he and Ram Man made a deal to remove Ingvar from the picture so that Ram Man could get Ada back and Pétur could have Maria to himself- which would explain why he left the shotgun in the field.
2 Ada Is A Hallucination Of Maria
Lamb, which will no doubt be considered one of Noomi Rapace’s best movies, provides the talented actor with a character that has a complex arc. Maria is a woman who is emotionally distant from her husband and is clearly dealing with past trauma, given her reference to “going back in time” at the beginning of the film.
A theory related to her character comes from Redditor Traditional_Fail3827 who states: “I was pretty convinced that Maria was just having a grief-induced hallucination.” It is a fair assumption, given that Ada’s true form as a human/sheep hybrid is not revealed for a large portion of the film. It could be concluded that Maria simply saw Ada as part human to cope with losing a child previously. As the plot develops, it becomes clear though that Ada is in fact a real hybrid.
1 Nature Is Not To Be Tampered With
Part of the reason why Lamb is considered in the fairy tale genre is that it is a story of a grief-stricken couple, dealing with the loss of a child, who miraculously come into possession of another – in this case, a human/sheep hybrid, Ada. While the couple raises Ada as their own, her biological parents’ desire to get her back becomes an insurmountable obstacle.
As Ada’s mother constantly loiters around the couple, looking for her daughter, Maria eventually murders her and buries her in a field. At the end of the film, Maria soon pays for her crimes. Reddit user Jiznthapus writes simply, “you mess with Mother Nature, you’re gonna get what’s coming to you.” This theory suggests that the movie’s message is that altering an element of the natural world will not go unnoticed. It is arguable that Ada never belonged to the couple, yet they took her to ease their own trauma and took drastic measures to stop anyone ruining their newfound happiness, and ultimately were punished by nature itself in the form of the Ram Man.
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