Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster is one of the best romantic comedies of all time. Seriously, I think you should make it a date night with the one you love. Watch as the sexy Colin Farrell woos the nearsighted woman of his dreams (Rachel Weisz) by bringing her dead rabbits. In the days of Tinder, it is nice to see a movie that gets down to the things that really matter in a relationship, like sharing the same physical malady.
But you might ask, is this another one of those movies where single people get turned into animals if they don’t find love in 45 days. Yes, it is another one of those movies and I do agree that is a worn out plot device, but The Lobster is so much more than just another formulaic animal transformation romance. For instance, in this film single people (or loners) can be killed to extend your stay at the luxury hotel and masturbation is not allowed or you will have your hands disfigured. It is so romantic.
But maybe you are a single person and you are thinking that there is nothing for you in a film so filled with romantic advances. But The Lobster is there for you to give you a wilderness home complete with your very own freshly dug grave. And you can masturbate all you want there, but don’t you dare flirt with anyone or you might have your lips melted off with a hot iron. It is a gentle encouragement towards the joys of matrimony. Also, you will be surprised at how many lobsters are in this movie, I mean they are everywhere.
In the end, The Lobster is a departure from Lanthimos’ regular blockbusters and while it is slightly formulaic it does offer a traditional view of relationships that is refreshing in this day and age. It is the most romantic film you will see this year which features a woman shooting a donkey in a field.
Alright, so I hope you can tell from my sarcastic review of The Lobster that we are looking at a very interesting film. It is actually Lanthimos’ first English feature and I’m happy to say that he didn’t tone down his strangeness. The story indeed takes place in a dystopian society of the near-future where unlucky singles are forced to find a romantic partner in 45 days. If they don’t, they’re crudely turned into an animal of their choice and banished into the woods.
It is like something out of The Twilight Zone. We’re all familiar with the pressures of society to stay together or find someone special, namely because we fear we won’t belong. The film parodies both the single and married life by splitting the story into two equal halves. The first half is set at the strange hotel, where they participate in an incredibly uncomfortable conference, where sexual stimulation without orgasm is required by maids each day and they hunt for runaway singles to prolong their stay and delay their transformation.
The other half of the film takes place, in the wilderness of celibacy. This is no paradise either. There are strict rules against flirting or anything that might lead to love. It’s in the woods, however, that Farrell falls for Rachel Weisz and they slowly start to form a forbidden relationship. So Lanthimos takes this dark comedy and transforms it into a very touching romance in the midst of the horror.
The first half of the film is great as it is unfolding this dystopian world, however I thought that Weisz’ narration felt like an add-on until the second half when they develop a forbidden love sign-language and we need a little help to decipher. This is the kind of film that has you very uncomfortable on your first watching, but I was laughing heartily the second time through. It will leave you perplexed and melancholy. If you are tired of the formulaic films of Hollywood, check out The Lobster. Spoiler alert, there are no lobsters in this film, not even one.