When I first heard about THE LOBSTER I wanted to see it. Colin Farrell turning into a lobster if he doesn't find love? That's a synopsis for a movie you don't hear about everyday. Count me in! Little did I know how great the film was actually going to be.
Not quite experimental enough, not body horror, and way better than I expected the movie to be, THE LOBSTER is a dark comedy set in a dystopian near future. If you're single you are sent to The Hotel to find a romantic partner in 45 days. Failure to do so results in being turned into an animal of your choosing.
Obviously a satire on the cultural and societal pressures of dating, marriage, and remaining single, THE LOBSTER felt like a film speaking to me. Yes, I want to find companionship and get married but the older I get the more I'm set in my ways. Especially if society keeps trying to tell me otherwise.
The story centers on recently divorced David as he searches for a new love. He just has 45 days, at which point, if he's still single, he will be turned into a lobster. David picked the lobster as his animal because they can live up to a 100 years old, have blue blood just like aristocrats, and stay fertile all of their lives.
The Hotel has several strict guidelines, for example; singles cannot mingle in couples areas, you cannot masturbate, and of course you have to be compatible with your mate. Failure to comply with these things leads to punishment or immediate transformation into your animal.
There is one incentive The Hotel offers and that is hunting deserters. Mixed with citizens who have left The Hotel or never went in the first place, these loners take refuge in The Woods. Guests can add days to their stay by hunting these strays.
This is the first half of the film. We see the inner workings of The Hotel and how they “help” singles find a match. David meets some interesting people during his stay. I found it odd (in a cool way) how David (Colin Ferrell) is the only character given a name. We're never told nor do we hear the names of the other characters. The narrator just refers to them as Lisping Man ( John C. Riley), Limping Man (Ben Wishaw), Hotel manager (Olivia Colman), and so on.
Limping Man's stay I found very telling of real life. Spoiler alert!! He fakes having chronic nose bleeds so that he'll be a match for Nose Bleed Girl. And later in the film we see that these characters are miserable, you can see it in their eyes. But I guess living a lie is better than being turned into an animal?
It's coming down to the wire for David as he only has a week left and still hasn't found anybody. I don't want to completely spoil it, but due to some events David goes AWAL into The Woods. While there he meets a group of deserters/loners and falls in love.
The second half of the movie really focuses on this, other singles hiding in The Woods. The vast surroundings of The Hotel become an exile all there own. Here, paring up is strictly prohibited and punishable by those in charge. The leader of these loners does her best by making sure no one falls in love. No matter where you go, your romantic life is strictly managed.
I took it as a statement of sticking-to-the man for forcing singles to “find love” at The Hotel.
Seeming not to be able to catch a break, David and his new found love decide to leave The Woods and try a new life in The City.
It's hard to talk about a film like THE LOBSTER without ruining it. The outcome of Limping Man was spoiler enough in my opinion. It's full of metaphors and allegory that is sometimes on-the-nose and other times worthy of analysis. For example, the name of the woman David falls in love with is Short Sighted Woman (rim shot). But overall there is something meaningful to this dark comedy.
Like I mentioned earlier, THE LOBSTER is one of the best films of the year. And it'll probably be one of my Top 10 favorites of 2016. I love the attention it demands from its viewers. It's weird, full of anarchy (screw society), and in the end is compassionate.
One of the most creative films I've seen all year. I highly recommend THE LOBSTER!!