By Jaran Chance
The Lobster has got to be one of the strangest movies I have ever seen in my entire life, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
The film marks the English-language debut from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, who’s previous films have received multiple awards. It was entered in a French film festival and won the third most prestigious prize a little over a year ago and found its way to the big screens in the U.S. just a couple weeks ago.
In the dystopian future of The Lobster, the story’s protagonist David (Colin Farrell) finds himself in a rather peculiar situation. In the setting of the film simply referred to as “The City”, it is illegal to be single, and fortunately enough David has recently been dumped by his wife. So the plot follows that any person recently single is sent to “The Hotel” where they are given 45 days to fall in love or they will be transformed into the animal of their choosing for a second shot at love. Much of the other details of the film’s world are left unclear.
Much of the film is spent inside The Hotel where David is forced to navigate the bewildering world of forced love. The film is seen for the most part through David’s eyes with occasional narration from a woman explaining his thoughts. Most of the characters in The Lobster are very quiet and reserved making for many uncomfortably funny interactions.
The film is not meant to be a comedy, but a large portion of the interactions and events are oddly humorous in nature. Though the story ultimately leaves an overwhelming feeling of confusion. There are no real answers, and all of the film’s biggest questions and oddities are left entirely open-ended which in a lot of ways is the beauty of the film.
The ending was so abrupt and nonsensical that I just burst out in laughter all alone at the movie theater. The nonsense was the biggest source of humor for the film and ultimately became the overarching theme. All of the plot is so clearly and desperately trying the subtly hint the director’s commentary on modern love that it becomes annoying.
All throughout the film the characters are defined by their defining characteristics and none but David are given names. The people David meets are simply defined as the limping man or the woman prone to nose bleeds. All of the love seen in the film is depicted as people desperately clinging to their similarities, in the film’s sake literally for dear life. Alternatively, there is a group of rebels who refuse
The City’s laws and live out their days free and partner-less in The Forest fleeing persecution. Though this group has rules of their own which they fiercely enforce.
As David navigates the world of The Lobster, he finds the harsh reality of his society’s detachment and lack of true freedom. Though there is never any true understanding or enlightenment, The Lobster is an interesting and thought-provoking tale of off-balance romance worth investigation.