Synopsis: In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
Release Date: May 27, 2016 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
There are movies that are weird because they’re trying to be weird, and then there are movies that make weirdness look effortless. The Lobster is the latter.
The Lobster takes place in a near-future world where people are not allowed to be single. When David (Colin Farrell from Fright Night) is suddenly left by his wife, he finds himself at a place called The Hotel where he has 45 days to fall in love with a woman who is in the same predicament. If the residents of The Hotel don’t find their mate within the allotted timeframe, they are surgically transformed into an animal of their choosing – David chooses to become a lobster if and when he fails to find a match, because they “live for over one hundred years, are blue-blooded like aristocrats, and stay fertile all their lives.” After a few awkward encounters with the women at The Hotel, David escapes into The Woods where he lives with a group of other escapees, called The Loners, who have accepted their solitary fates. It is there, amongst the Loners, that David meets a woman (Youth‘s Rachel Weisz) who may, in fact, be his soulmate.
To reiterate, it’s a weird one. The Lobster is the first English language film from writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos and his screenwriting collaborator Efthymis Filippou (the pair who also made Dogtooth and Alps), and it is a very different kind of dystopian science fiction film. It’s basically split into two neat halves, the first documenting David’s experiences at The Hotel, and the second showing what happens to him in The Woods. There’s very little story arc to the movie, but there’s even less of a character arc. It’s a pretty stripped-down plotline, but it’s still oddly fascinating.
Although it doesn’t ever get too pretentious about it, The Lobster makes a strong statement about social maladjustment in society and how introversion can lead to helpless anonymity. David is the only character in the film who is ever given a name; the rest are notated in the credits by their social status or physical characteristics. David hangs out with Loner Leader (Léa Seydoux from Sister), Limping Man (Ben Whishaw, the voice of Paddington), Lisping Man (Carnage‘s John C. Reilly), and Nosebleed Woman (Jessica Barden from Hannah). Even love interest Rachel Weisz’s character’s name is simply “Short Sighted Woman.” The lack of identification just keeps David isolated and lonely, even when he’s surrounded by people, and therefore, makes the movie that much more surreal and bizarre.
The Lobster will be a little too quirky and oddball for many people. It takes patience and attention to get through, and even then, some viewers are probably not going to “get it.” But, for fans of absurdist comedies like Brazil or artsy science fiction films like Ex Machina, it just might hit all the right buttons. Just be ready for weirdness when you walk into the theater.
There is no musical composer credited in The Lobster, but the movie is full of music. Most of the soundtrack is made up of classical pieces by the likes of Beethoven, Stravinsky, and Strauss, with just enough Nick Cave to keep things hip and modern. There is incidental music, but it’s either made up of lesser-known existing stock material or written by an unsung film composer, because again, there is no credit given for the score. No matter what the source is, the music in The Lobster is just as quirky and different as the movie itself, even if it’s a bit repetitive and sterile at times.
There’s a very dry and subliminal humor at work in The Lobster. It’s the kind of black comedy that, in retrospect, makes the viewer feel awkward for laughing, but it’s funny nevertheless. The dialogue between characters is all emotionless and scientific, almost monotone, so that even the most ridiculous of statements is regarded as serious – at one point, the hotel manager (played by Olivia Colman from Locke) tells David, in a strictly matter-of-fact tone, that once he finds a suitable partner, “if you encounter any problems you cannot resolve yourselves, you will be assigned children.that usually helps.” There are also subtle sight gags throughout the movie, such as when the Loners are hanging out in their forest and a camel waltzes past them, obviously a transformed person who didn’t find a match within 45 days (because why else would a camel be in the woods?). There’s a lot to soak up in The Lobster, and more humor will probably become evident to the audience upon repeat viewings (if the viewer can handle them). But, even on a first pass, there’s plenty to laugh at (and with).
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Yorgos Lanthimos
- Producer(s): Ceci DempseyEd GuineyYorgos LanthimosLee Magiday
- Screenwriter(s): Yorgos LanthimosEfthymis Filippou
- Cast: Colin Farrell (David)Rachel Weisz (Short Sighted Woman)Ben Whishaw (Limping Man) John C. Reilly (Lisping Man)Jessica Barden (Nosebleed Woman)Olivia Colman (Hotel Manager)Ariane Labed (The Maid)Léa Seydoux (Loner Leader)Michael Smiley (Loner Swimmer)Angeliki Papoulia (Heartless Woman)Imelda Nagle Ryan (Loner Leader’s Mother)Roland Ferrandi (Loner Leader’s Father)
- Editor(s): Yorgos Mavropsaridis
- Cinematographer: Thimios Bakatakis
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Sarah Blenkinsop
- Casting Director(s): Jina Jay
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: UKIreland