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
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.
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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