To call The Lobster a quirky little comedy would be to undersell this film completely. This film is absurdly hilarious and adds a dire life and death consequence to the pitfalls of finding a life partner. In an odd sort of look at the future, director Yorgos Lanthimos presents a world where you either pair up or become assimilated in the weirdest way. It made me guilty for having never heard of this filmmaker before or his other acclaimed film Dogtooth, which people were talking about after.
A stark looking film, lensed only with natural light and with the actors wearing no make up, The Lobster boasts a great cast featuring Colin Farrell, Ben Whishaw, John C. Reilly, Rachel Weisz and Lea Seydoux, all giving their dialogue such a dead pan brilliance to match the very simple backdrops of this world. Society now only seems to be almost monochromatic, with plain looking malls, restaurants, apartments blocks and resort hotels, the latter being the major focus of the film.
The story is about David (Farrell), a single man who has joined a program where he has forty five days to establish a lasting relationship with a partner who he will then be bonded to for life. The kicker is that if he has failed to make a connection in the allotted time, he will be transformed into the animal of his choosing and set loose into the woods. David has decided a lobster is the ideal animal for him as he has a love for the ocean.
In tow with him to the hotel is a dog which happens to be his brother, who failed to make that needed romance work and paid the ultimate price. Funny enough, to me, whether it was intentional or not, the dog seemed to be very standoffish to David even being at the hotel, which I thought was really funny.
Once David has checked in, he meets some of the other guests, including a younger man with a limp (Whishaw) and an older man with a lisp (Reilly) and the three form a sort of tenuous friendship, if only just to have someone to talk to. Both men are a little further into their stay and desperation is beginning to set in. Slowly, David begins to realize the more sinister qualities of the resort and the people involved with it and must make a bold decision.
This is probably one of my favorite comedies in recent memory , if not just for the insanity of the main plot. The literal life altering consequences of not finding this forced sense of love is such a crazy concept and to see the characters try to fake their way into a lifelong relationship just serves to show how fundamentally flawed this new societal system is.
The questions this film poses is very interesting to me as well. What would cause society to do these mandatory pair ups? Why do they get changed into animals? Is there a low number of wildlife left on earth? Of course, none of these are answered, as the film is wonderfully ambiguous but the world that Lanthimos and his writing partner Efthymis Filippou has set up is an incredibly intriguing one.
Without a question, The Lobster is a film you’ll want to check out as soon as possible and one that will prompt a lot of conversations of speculation, especially surrounding the third act which takes the film in a different and slightly haunting direction. Above all, the best reason to see this is for the inevitability that you can stop telling people “Oh my god, have you seen The Lobster? It’s insane!” I loved it, a five out of five.