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Reviews & Ratings for
Lamb More at IMDbPro »

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26 out of 31 people found the following review useful:


Author: marcosaguado from Los Angeles, USA
11 March 2004

The answer of how an electro shock can be inspiring, is buried within this little film. Unapologetic to a fault. Tense, and tender. It grabs you by the throat and doesn't let you go. I understand the outcries about the ending, but, what did you expect? In a painful, shattering way, the ending is utterly rewarding, true to its message, even if it leaves you gasping for air. Interesting to notice, Gianni Amelio's masterpiece "Stolen Children" seems a remake of "Lamb" a film that, by its very nature, should appear impossible to emulate. If you're not afraid of an emotional wallop, go for Lamb.

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Unique and Beautiful Film

Author: info-3143 from Ireland
2 October 2004

It has been a while since I first saw Lamb - but I remember being struck by its sensitivity and compassion. This is not for those looking for a chick-flick/action movie/happy-ever-after type of film. For those that are prepared to be a bit more challenged, make sure to watch it. It will grab your heart-strings and won't let go.

Both Liam Neeson and Hugh O'Connor put in great performances and considering the age of young Hugh O'Connor he is pretty amazing in the role of Eoin. Liam Neeson has stated that it is one of his own particular favourites.


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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

This film left me emotionally scarred for life and that is a good thing.

Author: john willis (jaypee-5) from Manchester, England
26 November 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Contains Spoilers It has been a long time since I have seen Lamb but the film moved me deeply. When I saw the film I was experiencing difficulty at home with my father, I often dreamt of running away and I think that was why the film caught my imagination so much.

I loved the cheeky impudence of the little boy, I knew that at heart he was a good lad but needed to to be quick verbally to survive. The Neeson character is great, he was exactly the sort of role model kids like me wanted. You felt he knew what was going on in the boys mind and had some sympathy.

The Arsenal match was both the highest and lowest part of the movie for me, people may argue the lowest was the end but I differ. The realisation that the boy was incapable of being happy, of enjoying himself touched me at a very basic level. In essence it is for this reason that I feel Neeson did the boy a favour by drowning him, even though effectively he was taking on the mantle as now he had this burden on his own life.

I love this film, it has stayed with me right throughout my adolescence and I often think of it now as an adult. No other film has touched me in such a way, I just wish they would show it on the T.V. or that I could find the video. Not that I need it because the way I felt fourteen years ago is as strong now.

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A vortex of drama and humanism

Author: gbb1909 from Turin, Italy
6 November 2001

One of coldest, driest, most painful film ever made in England. A love story with sad irony, but no humorism. You will appreciate a young Liam Neeson, in one of his first effort as protagonist. And the lovely and desperate little Hugh O'Conor: he will face the priests' life again, as one of them,in Lasse Halstrom's CHOCOLAT (2000). A picture you'll never forget.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Truly harrowing yet wonderful movie

Author: NapoleonX from United Kingdom
23 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Some comments on this movie focus on the ending, labelling it unnecessary, violent, whatever. Saying it ruins the film.

I sometimes wonder if people like these watch the same movies I do.

Lamb as a movie has it's faults, it's about half an hour too long, at some points the slow pace becomes a chore to get through. A couple of minor issues for a film in which Liam Neeson and Hugh O'Connor give performances of their lives. In Hugh's case this is exceptional considering he looks about 8. The ending is not the problem and if you watch the movie and listen to the characters and understand the motives and feelings, you will understand. It's not like the director went out of his way to hide these. There's a massive hint read out on the radio for goodness sake.

Neeson is pitch perfect as a man out of his depth. Driven to do the right thing he struggles to cope with the consequences of his actions, eventually reaching the only conclusion that makes sense. However the film is not a tragedy. Eoin has a few weeks of happiness with someone who truly cares about him. But the happiness cannot last and the man of God must finally face himself as a coward. Having done the unthinkable out of love he does not have the strength to commit himself to God. Make no mistake, the end is harrowing, but compelling. Neeson outdoes himself. But he is outdone himself by Hugh as Eoin, the smoking, swearing, epileptic child who will none the less enrapture you as much as he does Michael Lamb.

This is a rare film but so worth seeking out. I wish more people had the bravery to make movies as hard as this one.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:


Author: Uriah Rogers from Fort Payne, AL
10 September 1999

Lamb is really good movie. Liam Neeson does a fine job in this film. Its probably not the best he's ever done, but the movie deserves some credit. He plays Brother Sebastian a man questioning his faith and his role in life.

He befriends a small boy named Owen who has had nothing but bad things throughout his life. During all of this his father dies and leaves his estate to him, he gets part of the money up front and decides to elope with young Owen. Things go from good to bad to bad to worse, with a ending that will shock you.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

actually, rather good

Author: sei_mein_kollaps from Ontario, Canada
9 August 2001

Whether or not you like this movie depends a lot on what you are looking for. i thought it was a really interesting movie, but if you are a sucker for happy movies, this is not the one to watch. If, on the other hand, you are a movie masochist and like somewhat realistic plots even if they can get a bit depressing, this is a really good movie. The best part of this movie is the fact that it is different. No boring same-old-plot-with different-settings for this movie. Liam can make anything believable, and that is what gets you with this movie.

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There's no Catholic guilt as strong as the guilt of an Irish Catholic.

Author: mark.waltz from United States
6 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Young priest Liam Neeson works hard at a reform school where very young Hugh O'Conor, a troubled kid, is brought in and immediately worms his way into Neeson's heart. In spite of his bad language and wretched attitude, O'Conor strikes a cord with the troubled Neeson, dealing with his own family problems. Against his better judgment, Neeson takes the boy out of school to Dublin and hides from the news that is out about him, risking the boy's health thanks to untreated epilepsy seizures. It's nice to see O'Conor cone to trust him, but it's obviously not without cost.

Often disturbing, this psychological drama has its share of odd characters, including an alcoholic gay man whom they stay with and a nosy hotel worker who offers unsolicited advise and seems obsessed with the hour on the hour catholic services that ends at one, a service she claims for lazy people. The film gets odder and odder, and the fact that Neeson never gives up from hiding the troubled kid indicates that his character is equally off the beam as well. This results in the film being rather odd and more an acting exercise for the rising Neeson than anything else.

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9 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

The ending makes this otherwise worthwhile movie thoroughly disgusting

Author: Andreas Niedermayer ( from Klagenfurt, Austria
2 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This comment contains crucial information about the ending. So please do not read it unless you know / want to know about it.

I give Lamb a 4. If it had not been for the movie's last 10 minutes, I would have given it a 7. The ending though is simply horrible and disgusting. My review will now take a closer look at the story and why I think the arguments of those who like the last scenes miss the point and are as surrealistic as the ending itself.

Lamb is the story of the Christian Brother Michael Lamb (played by Liam Neeson) and his doomed love for a 10 year old boy. He works at a Remand Home on the Irish Coast and is struggling with his loss of faith. Very soon the epileptic Owen (Hugh O'Connor) is put into the care of the Home by his obviously cold-hearted mother. The institution is run by Brother Benedict (Ian Bannen), who has a sadistic streak and does not care about individuals and their problems. When Lamb's father dies, the young priest seems to have some sort of emotional breakdown – at least this assumption makes the following events somehow understandable. Owen, who regresses under the Home's brutal regime, is initially not interested in Lamb as the kind of mentor the young priest wants to be for the boy, but as soon as Owen finds out that Lamb wants to help him, he sides with the young priest. As Lamb is about to expect some inheritance, he decides to quit his work at the Home and to take Owen with him. They manage to leave the institution clandestinely and eventually arrive in London, where they are masquerading as father and son. Things get worse quickly, they run out of money after a short time and have to realize that the police is already in pursuit. Lamb tries to make a living, but as Owen's physical condition deteriorates alarmingly due to a lack of tablets and as the police is closing in, he takes him back to Ireland.

From this point on the movie becomes surrealistic and disturbing. Lamb apparently seems to think that Owen needs salvation, that his suffering is not to be cured, and that he is the only one who can redeem the boy from his sorely-tried life. So he gives him other tablets instead of those which Owen normally takes to prevent his fits, and takes him to the beach. There Owen breaks down. Lamb grabs his body and walks into the sea. He puts his head under the surface and apparently drowns the boy. He then leaves the body on a dune and dives into the sea himself several times. He finally comes back, places himself next to Owen's dead body – and here the movie ends.

Now these last shots are totally beyond me. They are surreal, only to be grasped if you assume Lamb having lost his mind. The movie is not bad at all, starts with an interesting premise, shows a dear relationship which gradually grows stronger between the boy and the priest. The story itself is not necessarily coherent all the time and sometimes lacking sophisticated and realistic proceedings, but it works – save for the end.

Other reviewers have stated that the final scenes are strong and convincing because they are tragic and far off the corny happy-ending pattern. The DVD cover calls it "the ultimate act of love and mercy". Some have said that Owen has finally found peace.

This attitude lacks good common sense. Everyone who has at least some understanding of terms such as "responsibility" and "reason" would have to realize that this ending is entirely unrealistic. If Lamb had really loved the boy, he would have quit the hiding and running away and assured Owen's save return, so that he could be treated according to his illness. Owen trusts him – even loves him – by the end of the movie, but Lamb abuses this trust and kills the boy. He kills him. He kills a boy who has his entire life still ahead, who has yet to experience so much and find out so many aspects of life. Why does he do so? Because he panics; loses his mind; turns mad – however you wish to put it.

I have no problem with tragic endings; I have no problem with emotionally thrashing and exposing scenes that are far off the stereotypical happy ending. So if Owen would have drowned, or died due to an accident or some sort of complications from epilepsy – fine. But this is nonsense, surrealistic and entirely beyond common sense. Lamb seems to be so strongly obsessed by the boy – probably caused by the loss of his own father – that he abandons the thought of returning him into the custody of the Home. Of course, Lamb would have to go to prison, Owen would probably return to the Home or some other institution, and yes, he would presumably continue to suffer, BUT: He would be alive. And this is my point. How anyone dares to call the killing of an innocent child "an act of mercy and love" is simply beyond me. How can anyone think that this deed does any good to Owen?

The boy is dead, and the one he trusted is responsible for it and has done everything deliberately. This is the sad essence of a story that has such a good background plot and very interesting events happening, but is simply ruined by a disgusting and appalling ending.

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2 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Substance just not there

Author: Trevor Gensch from Brisbane, Australia
18 October 1999

I must profess the only reason I taped this film when it was shown recently on Australian ABC TV was because I saw that Liam Neeson and Ian Bannen were in it.

I therefore began watching it knowing absolutely nothing about it. I came away feeling slightly disappointed, but overall I found it enjoyable.

The story concerns a priest, played with suitable piousy by Neeson, a man whos faith is slowly ebbing away in the face of hardship.

His eye falls to a newcomer to the school at which he works, a young boy called Owen who seems to have quite a chip on his shoulder, and does not like authority of any kind.

The two develop a friendship, and, at a crucial moment, the priest decides to kidnap the boy and travel to London and better climes. He tells Owen that he has talked to his mother and gained permission to have him for a while.

They spend a while in London (living off an advance of his inheritance from his recently departed father), and get quite close.

But Owen suffers from epilepsy, a condition which requires constant medication. And when the money and drugs start running out...

Lamb is quite a routine picture for much of its length, lacking any real emotional depth until the last 20 minutes. Its length is perhaps a bit long, with its paper thin plot stretched out to accommodate this.

Apart from the last 20-30 minutes where the desperation starts to set in and they run out of money, resorting to more seedier accommodation, it really lacks the hook to keep a viewer interested.

4 out of 10.

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