Toronto 2019: The Other Lamb

The Other Lamb. Courtesy of TIFF.

The Other Lamb is a film that follows one young woman being raised in a cult as she starts to question everything that she knows.

For Selah (Raffey Cassidy), all she knows is life with Shepherd (Michiel Huisman).  Shepherd is very strict when it comes to rules.  For one, no other men are allowed.  There is no technology allowed within the premises, either.  He takes wives who give him daughters.  As incestuous as it may be, the daughters will reach a point in which Shepherd will take them as his wives.  Basically, it’s not a lifestyle that anybody would want.  Sooner rather than later, Selah starts to get the feeling that something is off.  Well, maybe not so much off in as much as this lifestyle isn’t right.

When the cops find their initial campgrounds, Shepherd is forced to move everyone to a new location.  Selah starts to question everything she knows as this move takes place.  It doesn’t help when a car passes by while they are hiking to a new location.  Nor does it help when she begins to experience the first signs of puberty.

If not for the few times in which we see a car drive by or the fact that light bulbs are used, one could assume that this film could be set during any point in history.  Light bulbs are just about it as far as any technological advances.  The same goes for the wardrobe because the clothing has more of a classic look than a contemporary feel to it.  Again, this is a film that could honestly take place at any point in history.  Cinematographer Michael Englert lends the film the kind of vibe that it needs.

The Other Lamb marks the English language debut for director Malgorzata Szumowska.  It’s a solid film although the film can get a bit graphic.  Such is life while living within a cult, of course.  When you read between the lines, The Other Lamb has an allegorical feel to it.  Look at what has been happening since the fall of 2017.  Women are standing up to say enough is enough.  Selah is the young woman here who stands up for herself before the other women follow behind her.  In other ways, it wouldn’t be unfair to label the film under the horror category.  It isn’t a horror film in the traditional sense but I hope you can get the idea.

DIRECTOR:  Malgorzata Szumowska
SCREENWRITER:  Catherine S. McMullen
CAST:  Raffey Cassidy, Michiel Huisman, Denise Gough

The Other Lamb held its world premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in the Special Presentations program. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.