movie reelist poster placeholder

The Lobster

Coming Soon

Let’s kick things off with a parable. A man went into the woods to hunt, but lost his way. For days he wandered in the forest, disorientated and confused, desperately trying to find his way out. He was hopeless. After some time, he saw another man approaching in the distance. At last, he thought to himself, “a person who knows how to get out of this forest.” When they met, he asked the man, “My brother, can you tell me the way out of this forest? I have been wandering for days, but have been unable to find the way.” The other fellow answered, “Brother, I do not know the way out either. I, too, have been wandering about these woods for days. Let us journey on together. Perhaps, side by side, we can figure a way out.” The man was no longer hopeless. Director Yorgos Lanthimos tells a much longer story in his work, The Lobster; but at the end of the day, the message that can be found is very similar. Hope and companionship go a long way in leading a happy and meaningful life.
The Lobster takes a very interesting approach on love and relationships. In a society where being single is frowned up, there are laws in place to give those without a partner all of the incentive in the world to find one. You see, law dictates that citizens whom are of a single status must check into The Hotel. It is there that a 45 day countdown begins for them to find love with any of the other residents staying there. If no viable match is found by the time the countdown reaches zero, he or she is turned into a creature to go back into the world for a second chance at finding love. I know, crazy right? But it isn’t so bad. Residents do, at least, get to choose the form in which they get to return into the world as so that’s at least something….
David (Colin Farrell) has recently become single and must check into The Hotel. He brings along his furry four-legged canine companion which, as it turns out, was once his brother. So yeah, this is a real thing. The creature of David’s choosing is a lobster, a choice that actually had much forethought to it on his part. There are many rules and regulations to be followed along with scheduled activities and outings. One such activity is a hunt where those staying at the hotel head out into the woods to hunt former hotel occupants that escaped prior to that dreaded transformation deadline. These people called “Loners”, live in the wild beyond the reach of society’s rules. For every loner shot and captured (tranquilizer darts are used), the “hunter” responsible gets an extra day added to his or her stay. The longer you stay the better the odds of finding a match. Things eventually get complicated and David finds himself no longer staying at the hotel. From this point things are seen from the other perspective. The big question still remains though, will David ever find a suitable partner?
There is a ton to wrap your brain around when it comes to the plot of The Lobster. Most likely you’ll find yourself feeling one way about it but later on feeling quite differently. The dry tone in which Yorgos Lanthimos tells this story feels like a turn off initially but it really does resonate with viewers as things progress. The humor is also dry but effective. It’s almost as though the hotel is filled with social misfits which really isn’t the case. The film almost feels like two separate stories. The first is all about trying to conform to society’s rules and regulations. The second is all about trying to cheat the system and make it through each moment without being caught.
Colin Farrell (Total Recall (2012)) displays great range as the main focal point in The Lobster. Joining him are Ben Whishaw (The Danish Girl (2015)), John C. Reilly (Step Brothers (2008)), Olivia Colman (Broadchurch (TV Series)), Rachel Weisz (The Mummy (1999)) and Léa Seydoux (Spectre (2015)). These actors along with the many others not mentioned are what will make this film quirky, fun and downright heartless at times. There’s a roller coaster of styles and emotions going on here which will cause audiences to love and/or hate what is going down.
The Lobster is obviously not something to be taken seriously in the least. Having said that, there are subtle messages regarding relationships scattered throughout. The feel and style of the movie are very much that of an independent film. From the first minute of the film viewers will realize that they may be getting more than what they initially bargained for. My advice is to stick with it and watch with an open mind. It took me a while to get there but, once I wrapped my brain around everything and mentally digested what I saw, I have come to the belief that The Lobster is subtly a very solid and enjoyable dark rom-com.

The Lobster is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

Leave a comment...