The Lobster Movie Review
Single people are awful. They just wander around, aimless, searching desperately and pathetically for their next partner, partying hard and drinking and saving money and sleeping around and doing things us non-single folk cannot or do not want to do. If only there was a solution. If only we could do something with these people. Like herd them. Or hunt them. Or turn them into animals.
The Lobster is one of the weirder movies you’ll see all year, a dystopian romantic comedy of sorts in which a lonely, awkward single guy (played wonderfully by Colin Farrell) checks into a special hotel for single people where guests are subjected to relationship propaganda and encouraged to pair up with someone who has a similar trait (i.e. if you have a limp, maybe she’ll have a limp, too).
Oh, and for points they go into the woods to shoot the single people wandering there.
Oh, and at the end of their stay, if they still haven’t found that perfect someone, they are turned into an animal of their choosing.
Farrell’s character wants to be a lobster. Hence the title The Lobster.
The first half of The Lobster is fantastic, an odd, off-kilter, weird-funny comedy where everything is strange, character interactions are awkward, and you spend part of the time trying to figure out what the heck is going on. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but director and co-writer Yorgos Lanthimos (who directed the fabulous Dogtooth) creates a world where every little detail, every little moment, is something that can make you smile. Or at least appreciate.
The movie works best when Lanthimos focuses on the hotel, which is unfortunate because (spoiler) halfway through, Farrell’s character leaves the hotel and ventures into the greater world. While the film maintains its eccentricity, introduces new characters (primarily played by Léa Seydoux and Rachel Weisz) and presents a completely different perspective on this odd, off-kilter world, it loses something. Neither Seydoux nor Weisz’s characters are as interesting as any of the people in the hotel--Limping Man (Ben Whishaw), Lisping Man (John C. Reilly) or the Hotel Manager (Olivia Colman)--nor is The Lobster as captivating, mesmerizing or entertaining.
Then again, we are graced with a concept called relationship terrorism. So that has to count for something.
Even when The Lobster isn’t as good, it’s still good. But it’s so offbeat and, thanks to a second half that pales in comparison to the first, it’s a movie I expect I’ll never revisit again, despite its many accomplishments. It’s worth seeing, and arguably one of the year’s better movies, though it’s the type of movie only a fraction of audiences will appreciate, let alone love. But there is something to love here. At least some of the time.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.