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Lamb, based on the novel by Bonnie Nadzam, traces the self-discovery of David Lamb in the weeks following the disintegration of his marriage and the death of his father. Hoping to regain some faith in his own goodness, he turns his attention to Tommie, an awkward and unpopular eleven-year-old girl. Lamb is convinced that he can help her avoid a destiny of apathy and emptiness, and takes Tommie for a road trip from Chicago to the Rockies, planning to initiate her into the beauty of the mountain wilderness. The journey shakes them in ways neither expects.

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Lamb movie full length review - A brilliant movie which may have a social impact

My first thought when I began to watch this movie was that the writer must have had some dark fantasy about a child and a middle aged man.

There are no circumstances which I can think of in my adult life that would persuade me to strike up a friendship with an 11 year old, and (technically) kidnap her to take her on holiday.

I do understand the need for human connection and you can have a connection with a child, but it is limited to just that, a connection and not a relationship. I also understand how the naivety and innocence of a child can help reference you to a fresh point again when you've lost your emotional compass. But again, that doesn't mean you befriend them and take them on holiday.

However as I watched and thought about it I began to wonder how much our minds are shaped by the modern hatred of paedophilia and the lack of knowledge of paedophiles and how they work. I also have no knowledge of how 11 year olds may view their friendship with a middle age man. I do of course remember being a child and all my relationships with older people were based on a very simple premise: are they nice to be with. Simple.

Oona Lawrence isn't sexualised really in this movie although there is an undercurrent always there but I think that's from expectations developed by other movies and life itself. I do know that 11 year olds can be as insightful and 'knowing' as she is, I was myself and I have no idea where the knowledge came from. Intuition? I know a lot of it has left me now though...cynicism?

So as the movie progressed I began to feel more comfortable with their relationship thinking to myself, we've lost our way. We've lost our capacity to keep things in perspective. Much like the hunt for communists in America, "Reds under the Bed" and all that, there was a paranoia that had been struck up that was out of all realistic proportion to the threat. I think the same happened here. There's been so much focus in paedophiles and so many simple behaviours that are not now acceptable that anything that is even remotely hinting at even a friendship between child and adult becomes suspect.

As you keep watching you realise that while his actions are still inappropriate and unrealistic, they are innocent and well intended. He's saving her and saving himself at the same time. Their souls bonded because they were alike but with his greater life experience, he knew that with her support -or the support he'd get by helping her and therefore re tuning his own compass- he would also help himself. Suddenly everything is OK and you want them to stay friends, because that level of friendship is in fact only possible with the naive innocence of a child and the child like need of a lost adult.

The movie is not only engaging and well directed, fabulously acted and paced intelligently, it's also a comment to say "Hey, not every man is a paedophile. Not every relationship between adult and child is wrong." Sometimes it's the suspicions of the watchers that are suspect, not the actions of the participants.

Watch this movie with an open mind and consider you and your society.