The single life: now punishable by lobsterfication

Film by Jorge Ignacio Castillo


The Lobster
Rainbow Cinemas
RPL Film Theatre (May 19-23)
4 out of 5

It’s hard to come up with new ideas for movies. Good thing we have the delightfully kooky Yorgos Lanthimos.

Lanthimos, who caused quite a stir in Cannes six years ago with his incest comedy Dogtooth, is back with a more “accessible” farce that’s punctuated by absurdity and violence. Meet The Lobster.

In The Lobster’s world, people are supposed to be in couples. Singles (divorced, widowed, whatever) are unacceptable, and they’re promptly sent to a spa/rehab facility to find partners. If they don’t within 45 days, the loners are turned into an animal of their choice (dogs are popular, but frowned upon).

The Lobster revolves around David (Colin Farrell, delightfully deadpan) as he tries to survive this dystopia, first as a bachelor and later as outsider. Turns out there’s an alternative to joining the animal kingdom but it involves renouncing society and any hope of human connection.

Not surprisingly, David finds true love (Rachel Weisz) exactly where he shouldn’t.

The film demands tolerance for dry, absurd humor and some brutality (animals get hurt even before the credits), but it’s quite successful at balancing its disparate elements. The Lobster also has plenty of fodder for interpretation. The most obvious: structure doesn’t suit humans’ emotional needs. Also, if you have to maim yourself to please your partner your relationship probably isn’t working.

While quite out there, the internal logic of The Lobster is flawless and its message is original. It’s not for everybody but I loved it.