Love is strange and frivolous in Yorgos Lanthimos’ dystopian film The Lobster.
Colin Farrell dons a questionable moustache and Clinton Bear-like belly for a dark but humorous look at what life would be like if single people were as persecuted in real life, as they can feel in society today. In a culture of Match.com, OkCupid and Tinder, this film is extremely timely.
The premise is simple and explained in the trailer for the film: single people must find a partner or you will be turned into an animal of your choosing. Naturally Colin Farrell chooses a lobster.
Because lobsters live for over one hundred years, are blue-blooded like aristocrats, and stay fertile all their lives. I also like the sea very much.”
Yet somehow this is not the oddest thing about the film; far from it in fact. Between sociopaths, an odd punishment with a toaster and The Loners who live in the forest who are hunted for sport, this film pulls no punches when it comes to weird and wonderful plot lines. But the film outdoes itself with a stellar cast to deliver Lanthimos’ vision.
The incomparable Olivia Colman plays the hotel owner responsible for housing the arrested singletons and helping them find a partner within a fixed time period – delivering hilarious lines with a straight face no one else can pull off. Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty, Catastrophe) plays a woman who’s defining feature is that she likes biscuits, and Rachel Weisz is our emphatic but oddly unemotional-sounding narrator throughout the film; giving us the background on each character and their quirks.
The Lobster doesn’t cut corners, and allows the viewer to truly believe in the world that has been created, to the point where you worry about the fate of the single people not finding partners, and at what sounds like the horrifying process of turning humans into animals. However, what it does so well, is bring to the fore the anxieties of relationships, whether you’re single or not, and uses them as determinants for the fate of people everywhere.
One piece of advice given by the Hotel Manager to a newly formed couple summed up the ethos of the world they lived in, and the film itself.
If you encounter any problems you cannot resolve yourselves, you will be assigned children, that usually works.”
The Lobster places comedy, drama and romance on screen in a perfectly harmonious cocktail of bizarre and it is delightful.