Combining Laughs, Love & Creativity: ‘The Lobster’ Restores My Faith in Film
Yorgos Lanthimos, the Greek director of Dogtooth, makes his English language debut with The Lobster. Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star in this hilarious and heartfelt tale of what it means to love and the lengths people are willing to go to find and keep it.
In the film’s world, the City’s singles (those who are not married) are sent to a hotel/compound to find a compatible mate or be turned into an animal of their choosing to live out the rest of their lives. Colin Farrell stars as David, a man who is left by his companion, and sent to the compound with his dog to complete just this task. There are already hints that I am giving away in this ingenious tale that is a must see for fans of creative independent cinema.
David is greeted by the couple that runs the hotel and filled in on the ways of the world inside. He must find a mate in 45 days or become an animal. Farrell enters the compound choosing to become a lobster, largely because they can live a long time. He is applauded for his ingenuity, although other guests played by the limping Ben Whishaw and lisping John C. Reilly, have a different take on his choice.
The trio set about finding mates of similar defining traits, i.e. they seek a woman with a lisp, a limp, etc. Cheating the system comes with hilarious but deadly consequences. Members shoot to kill escapees in the nearby woods regularly, to increase their stays to find a mate. The best hunters then create more time for themselves by killing singles hiding between the hotel and City’s borders. To say too much more would be giving away some of the brilliance of Lanthimos’ work.
While Dogtooth was inventively creative in it’s own right, that film stopped at opening up a world of possibilities at its end and almost felt incomplete as a result. The Lobster feels more full and relatable, though the performances and English-language ease can’t help but support that notion. It’s almost two films in and of itself, with a clear line of demarcation separating what happens in the hotel and outside of it. Both are great fun, darkly humorous and help restore my faith in the revelry of creative storytelling. I saw the film twice in a span of three days and I still wanted more. In the world of sequels and over the top superheroes, this gorgeously shot and strongly acted tale resonates as one of the best films of the year, hands down.