When describing a film, the words ‘quirky comedy’ can be a giant red flag. Those are the words that are often used to describe self-indulgent silliness that only the film makers enjoy. Well, it can be that or a simple cover up for a low-budget. With a premise like that of The Lobster, it could easily be either, or both of those. Still, with a cast like this and a fairly interesting trailer, there was more than enough to make this an appealing prospect.
The Lobster follows David (Colin Farrell), who after splitting with his partner of twelve years is sent to a hotel where single people are required to partner up into couples within a limited number of days, or they’ll be turned into an animal of their choosing. It should also be said that this is a very different kind of dystopian future setting. While we’re used to seeing worlds after, or during some sort of event, this is a society that has clearly taken a long time to get to where it is – a world where being single is basically a crime.
One of the best things about this film is that the world it’s set in is very well explored, with lots of world building, and hints at further issues. The actors add to this feeling, as they all behave similarly, in an awkward way that feels odd at first, but after watching people act like it for a while, eventually starts to feel normal.
The part of the film that focuses on the hotel for singles is by far the best section. Some of the characters you’re introduced to are great, especially the dynamic between Colin Farrell, Ben Whishaw and John C. Reiley, as each of them try to court respective partners. Unfortunately, this is only the first third to half of the film. Without wanting to ruin where the plot goes, the story does leave the hotel and from there it slows down significantly, and while there are still good moments, it does lose a lot of charm.
All of that being said, The Lobster does have one giant trump card, that it plays numerous times throughout, but never stops being interesting. Every aspect of the film is a commentary on modern society, dating, the pressures of finding somebody to love, and perhaps most significantly, the lengths people will or won’t go to for the people they love. As I’ve already said, this happens multiple times in the film, and you don’t always see it coming.
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