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Film review: The Lobster – Yorgos Lanthimos’ wonderfully original satire on relationships

This unique, disquieting, and laugh-out-loud funny look at attitudes to modern-day coupling can’t be ignored, despite falling short in the final act

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 May, 2016, 8:46am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 May, 2016, 10:16am

3.5/5 stars

There probably isn’t a more fiercely original film in the past 12 months than Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster. Darkly funny, it’s a perfect example of world-building from the Greek-born filmmaker behind the acclaimed Dogtooth. Set in a dystopian near future, it’s the ultimate Bridget Jones nightmare: singletons are being singled out.

Given 45 days to find a romantic partner in a rather bleak guest house outside the city, if they fail to do so they’re turned into an animal of their choosing. A metamorphosis liable to give Kafka the shivers, it’s a fate that awaits the film’s protagonist, the portly, moustachioed and newly single architect David (Colin Farrell). His creature of choice? The titular crustacean.

‘I don’t even know what Tinder is’: Rachel Weisz on dating rituals and new film The Lobster

But that’s just the starting point for this bizarre story, scripted by Lanthimos and his co-writer Efthymis Filippou. Guests are sent on hunting parties to search for so-called “Loners”, outsiders living in the nearby woods. For each one they snag with a tranquilliser dart, they get an extra day’s grace in their search for a soulmate.

All wrapped up in the most deadpan delivery you can imagine, The Lobster is hysterically funny (Olivia Colman as the officious hotelier a particular treat). It’s only when the film ventures into its second half, when David meets a sight-impaired Loner played by Rachel Weisz, that it loses its way.

Despite being fuelled by incisive ideas about human relations, social pressures and attitudes to modern-day couplings, the film never quite knits together in the final act. Still, such a unique, disquieting tale can’t be ignored, either.

The Lobster opens on May 12

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