The Lobster review
Our world has been changing a lot recently. Interracial relationships, orientation exploration, people questioning their gender, and revaluation of their faith has become more acceptable in a period where the internet and social media has opened doors that have been closed for so long. Places like Facebook and Instagram have let people know more about themselves, creating something of a revolution for those that are different. Though I still feel like that there is a benefit to privacy, this has given people more of an openness to new ideals, so I can give them credit for creating new social norms.
One thing that still happens to raise eyebrows is when we find people that are not just single, but those that don’t want to be in a romantic relationship. Society does place a lot of pressure for everyone to try to find a significant other…and to do it before it’s too late. It’s not just our media that’s filled with constant relationship programs, but entire industries are built upon this with wedding, family, and even travel that supports the idea that no one should ever be alone. The Lobster is a surreal comedy that explores just how forced we are into relationships…or not.
Within the rules of an unnamed city, being single is forbidden. This is the case for a middle age man David (played by Colin Farrell) whose wife leaves him for another man. Now free, he is taken to a resort where all single people go. They are given forty-five days to find someone they like (they have to say which gender they want as bisexuality is forbidden as well) or they will be turned into an animal of their choice. As with the title of the movie, David decides that he’d like to be a lobster as he likes the ocean and he would be able to live for a long time.
The hotel is filled with various dances and propaganda that fuels the importance of having a companion from the ban of masturbation to stage plays on why we need someone by our side. David talks to the other people that are also there, which include a Lisping Man (played by John C. Reilly), a Limping Man (played by Ben Whishaw) and a Nosebleed Woman (played by Jessica Barden). Outside of the hotel are a group of Loners, led by their leader (played by Léa Seydoux), who are hunted by the hotel guests in exchange for extra days to find a companion.
I’ll start by saying that The Lobster has a lot of creativity for creating this unique world that’s clearly addressing the problems of our society (not just American, but worldwide) about the pressures of relationships. But without spoiling anything, the movie intelligently shows the other side’s faults on why putting a label on something like love or solitude isn’t a good thing.
The joke of the movie is that everything is set is place, so most of the cast has a deadpan way of communicating, even during some of the more emotional moments. Some might see this as a problem, but independent filmmaker Yourgos Lanthimos uses it to his comedic advantage.
Much of the ideas are surreal, especially with how they handle the idea of people remaining animals for the rest of their lives. The Lobster, like The Tree of Life and Eraserhead, is an acquired taste that not everyone is going to like. This movie may have a three act story, it’s logic falls into the emotional category on how the film progresses. My only problem is the final scene, which tries for something ambiguous, but came off as incomplete. The Lobster is a movie that deals with getting answers, and I wish the ending had gone on longer.
I’ll give this four and a half lobsters out of five. If someone were to tell me that this wasn’t their cup of tea, I’d totally understand. This is a story that you simply have to allow to let loose to see what kind of emotion it can get from you. It makes you question just why society puts stress on relationships, so see if you can gain a proper insight.