The Other Lamb, the English-language debut of Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska feels like the fevered dream of a menstruating teen handmaid, if she were, say, “Of Donald.” It provokes the sort of disgust and repulsion we are experiencing on a daily basis when we watch the daily “press briefings”, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Some films unexpectedly land at a perfect time, and The Other Lamb is certainly one of them. The narcissist-based misogyny, the gaslighting, the keeping-women-in-their-place of it all, as expressed through cult-leader The Shepherd (Michael Huisman, looking like Jesus, speaking like one of those Promise Keepers, or Vice President Pence) feels eerily familiar at a time when men in positions of power are denying women the right to abortions, or bodily autonomy under the guise of it not being “medically necessary.”
The Other Lamb’s all-women cult is tightly controlled by a man who expects his word to be followed regardless of truth, justice, or personal safety. The director’s slow reveal of reality through the eyes of one young follower is meant to evoke strong feelings from the viewer, but what feelings? ‘Get mad, ye women!,’ it seems clear Szumowska is saying. Stand up for yourself, or become another lamb headed to slaughter.