The Lobster

“I’ve seen a lot of weird movies to mixed results, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite so bizarre yet loved every minute of it. It’s almost a full day later and I’m still trying to process everything, but the smile comes back when I do.

Colin Farrell stars as a recently single man who checks into The Hotel, where he has 45 days to find a romantic partner. If he is unsuccessful, he will be turned into an animal.

Initially, I thought that his checking into the hotel was voluntary, a sort of last resort people, um, resort to when they’ve given up on more traditional methods of finding a partner. So that raised all sorts of questions about character and what my choices would be and all sorts of deep thoughts. But somewhere along the line, I realized that I had it wrong. Checking into the hotel is actually compulsory in their society. There are rules in place that dictate that everyone must be coupled off. Those that reject this notion, the loners, hide out in the woods, constantly being hunted. So then this raised a whole new larger set of questions about this world, and how their society came to this point. Yet I was so absorbed by this character and his world that the questions didn’t get in the way. If anything, they enhanced the experience, making it linger long after I left the theater.

If you think this is weird just from what I’ve said so far you don’t know the half. There was this strange tone to it, where everything was deadpanned and over explained. But it worked. I credit writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos for maintaining such a consistent tone throughout. It was kinda like a Wes Anderson movie crossed with the involuntary honesty of The Invention of Lying with the wit of Woody Allen, except instead of just feeling mediocre towards it as I do for each of those individually, they compounded each other into something unique and incredible.

Even the movie watching experience was bizarre. As I was fidgeting in my seat waiting for the movie to start, I noticed that everyone else in the theater was paired off. Everyone. All couples (unclear if romantic or platonic). Of all the movies to be odd man out. It wasn’t until just before the trailers started that two trios walked in. But then there was a problem with the projector (it was sorta stuttering) so after toughing it out thru the previews, we were shuffled over to the screening scheduled for 45 min later. So now by the time we reach the halfway point of the film, we’re nearing my bedtime. I’m getting sleepy and with sleepiness comes delirium. Moving on.

I should also say that if, like me, your favorite Colin Farrell performance is In Bruges, then this is definitely worth a watch. Here he has just the right mix of humor and sincerity that is truly nuanced an carries the film from absurdest to relatable. And ultimately, this film is meant to be relatable. It makes such a strong statement about the arbitrary rules in society and relationships by giving you a different perspective on it. A friend of mine is in a commercial where she likens choosing food by calories to choosing a spouse by height, to indicate how absurd the former is. This movie is effectively doing the reverse, pointing out how absurd it is that we often choose a partner for seemingly silly reasons, and it explores if it’s really so bad to make or not make those choices.

Okay now I’m getting all philosophical and introspective. My point is this is a weird movie, but I mean weird in the best possible way. It’s smart and clever, and unlike anything else you’re likely to see. It’ll get you thinking while entertaining you at the same time. In other words, if you think you can handle the strange, I think you should see this movie.

The Lobster – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”

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