If you’re looking for complete counter programming to the usual big summer blockbuster movies, then look no further than The Lobster, a weird, dark, funny, look at love and whether we have a human need to be in a relationship. It’s not for everyone, however; there’s nothing mainstream about The Lobster. If you’re looking for some kind of quirky, funny light rom-com, this is not it. This is definitely more in the Art Film area. People in the theater with me were a bit perplexed.
My guess is that people read about the premise and then were all like, “Oh, I LOVE Colin Farrell, and to see him in a quirky romance-drama will be so dreamy” and then those people were wigged-out by the unusual energy of this film and the dark nature of the humor. Me, I love the weird. And I really liked The Lobster.
Here’s the premise: In a dystopian near future, the rules of The CIty state that single people must be sent to The Hotel where they will have 45 days to find a romantic partner. If they are unable to find a match by that time, they will be transformed into an animal of their choosing, and sent out into the Woods.
Is that weird enough for ya? This film is directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, and written by him and Efthymis Filippou, the same team that brought us the equally, if not more, weird Dogtooth in 2009. Dogtooth was an interesting film about three grown siblings whose father would not allow them to leave the confines of their family house and grounds until they lost their dogteeth. Dogteeth are not a real thing. It’s a fascinating film and I also recommend it.
The subject matter in The Lobster is, if only a little, more accessible. But it’s presentation is equally as odd. Some people in the audience were uncomfortable with some animal violence and I suppose these days you might say there are animal cruelty triggers here, even though it’s all fake movie effects. But if you don’t like seeing animals hurt, etc, this will have a couple scenes you won’t like. But these scenes are necessary and have meaning to the film, so removing them would diminish the narrative and subtext. Yeah, there’s some film school knowledge for ya.
The Lobster explores our need for love, companionship, as well as some people’s choice to be single. It’s also about how society pressures people to be in a relationship, as if to say we are less than normal to choose to be single. There are also messages about what lengths some people will go to be in a relationship whether they are certain of it or not. Indeed, there are many levels to this film – a lot to think about.
But it’s not without it’s humor – dark as it often is – and all of the cast does a great job here. Colin Farrell is so weirdly nebbishy with his 20-30 pounds of gained belly weight. He is such a “regular guy” here and he arrives at The Hotel with his dog, Bob, who is actually his brother, Bob. Bob was at The Hotel the previous year, and he “didn’t make it”, so he chose to be a dog. The whole “being turned into an animal” thing is really funny because every time you see one on screen, you can be pretty sure it was a person once.
The Lobster is a wonderful film and will surely give you something quite different if you’re sick of seeing superhero movies. But it’s also not a mainstream rom-com, so if you’re looking for something more challenging and off the beaten path, I highly recommend The Lobster. My only criticism might be that it’s a little long at two hours. They probably could’ve tightened it a bit, but still four kittenhands from me. I really enjoyed this one.
~ Neil T Weakley, you are average movie goer, looking for more weird films.