Lamb full movie review - A Film About an Inter generational Romance That Treads Waters of the Psyche
SPOILERS GALORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have seen many films about inter-generational romances. Some are wonderful, some creepy...
I first would like to say that this film is no "Lolita" (excepting the road trip aspect and living in motels) and it is surely not the Academy Award Best Film of 1962, Sundays and Cybele (Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray) probably the greatest film about inter generational love ever made and now available on Criterion Bluray.
That being said, I am hoping the official DVD/Bluray release may have a director's commentary, as the film is really a Rorschach test given by the director to the viewer.
There is no sexual abuse in this film, though where the relationship was heading had not David sever all ties with Tommie is a matter of opinion, but in the end, he did worse..emotional abuse...
No one can be sure what David's ultimate intentions were...maybe he himself was not sure.. In a way, he was a kid running a way from home and wanted a companion
Likewise, he would do anything to keep the farce of this illusional relationship going at all costs, so keeping Tommie hidden was justification for that desire, and Tommie too was complicit until she actually got jealous when she realizes that he still (in her mind) thought of her as a kid.
While I am sure Tommie, as an innocent 11 year old did not actually want a sexual relationship with David, unconsciously and in her budding sexuality, she wanted him to want her as a woman.
I think however, the man had a plan, or had a plan which there were to be a couple of outcomes.
First, I want to establish a few things.. I don't think that initially he thought of Tommie as a sexual object, but definitely one he could mold, or "save" even though he couldn't "save" himself, or maybe he could, by giving Tommie the gifts of being needed, and to expand her horizons from the bleak existence she had.
Some very important scenes provide insight about both David and Tommie's persona.
When Tommie is shaving her legs (surely not actually as she was clearly not in that stage of puberty) but to mimic being a woman the way a young boy picks up his father's razor.
This is also why she screams at him when he wants to bath her. Not because she is embarrassed by nudity, as much as being treated like a small child.
This is further exemplified by her reaction of catching him making love to his girlfriend. NOT in disgust or fear that an innocent child might view it, but as a person who is told she is "equal partners" yet sees that in his eyes, she is not.
Whether she as a girl-child actually wanted to have sex with him was probably unconscious if at all, but the need to be "desired" was, and her need to act, and feel grownup is apparent throughout the film.
I think the ending is somewhat ambiguous on purpose, but there are clues.
While Tommie's life is going nowhere, and David attempts to show her the beautiful world beyond, his intent backfires when she is, by circumstances bound to him, and in a way, is "in love" with him.
So does the age old adage, "Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all, apply here?"
The very last shot is of her bag, still laying on the sidewalk where she left it running after David's car. This might imply that it is left behind,as she does catch up to David and he relents and takes her away.
You know that he sees her running after him by the shot of her running in his side mirror.
This would be the "fairy tale ending.
Another possibility is that good directors never put in scenes or props that have no significance.
That being said...there was a rifle....and also some very "poetic" parting words.
One earlier scene which might establish David becoming further unhinged in this temporary Utopian fantasy is that after considering the nosy neighbor to be a threat to his concocted world, he sneaks into the neighbor's backyard with his rifle. Was he planing to shoot the guy? Why was he there at all, spying on him, and with a gun? Only when he sees the dying wife and is reminded of his father does he back off.
When Davis realizes that his fantasy is over, and that he has harmed, rather than helped Tommie, he knows what he has to do.
The clues are the gun, the "willing" his cabin to Tommie, and he would never see her again, but he will be with her always..in the wind, nature, etc. Sounds like a man who knows what he is going to do and there is no turning back....
David is going back to the cabin to kill himself.
THAT is what I believe the ending is... out of the 3 choices, David and Tommie go on with life apart, or she does catch up with him and they ride off into the sunset, or Tommie is totally broken, at least at first, and David ends it all, not being able to live with himself for what he did, and not being able to fix it.
Tommie also has a few choices, to remain broken, and feeling used by David, or that she can sense that he did try to give her something she would never have in her world before they met, and would use that experience, bittersweet as it was to become empowered.