The Lobster: A Weird Movie about True Love
Movie Review: The Lobster
This film is easy to hate.
This is a film I highly do NOT recommend, but I did enjoy it.
You know how you watch a movie like Schindler’s List, and recognize how great it is (well executed, acted, written, and superbly shot) and realize that it will be studied in film and history classes for decades and used in academic papers and such… but after you watch it you really have no desire to see it again? This is how I felt about The Lobster, a film that thankfully had nothing to do with the Holocaust but does take a deep, satirical look at the importance of human romance and relationships—in an extremely dark and fable-like way.
Most people that go to see this, unless they are really into strange, small arthouse films will not like this movie, and likely will hate it. Most will not understand what it was going for; but give me a few minutes to give you my take…
The Lobster is about a man (Colin Ferrell) who just got dumped by his wife. He then goes to a place that resembles and is referred to as a hotel. Single people are made to stay here for 45 days, and if they do not find a mate, they are then turned into an animal of their choice and released into the woods.
You still with me?
Ok, well check this out: This hotel treats the idea of being single like a horrible thing and they have sessions and workshops with role-playing exercises that show you, almost as if you are in rehab, the dire consequences to life if you are one person as opposed to being a couple.
There are people who try to escape known as the “loners” and these folks are hunted by current residents of the hotel who are then rewarded by getting extensions on their stay.
The humor is as black as it gets, but I don’t see this as a dark comedy—it’s more than that.
Here is what this movie is really about:
You ever see that show, “What would you do?” where there is a hidden camera and a confederate presents a non-suspecting person with a situation and us viewers at home wonder if we would call the police, or cuss them out, or whatever the reaction might be for the issue? So this film gives a very specific opinion on the idea of TRUE LOVE and it asks the audience, if you were in an extreme situation, how do you really know what TRUE LOVE really is? Oh yes, they tell you the answer to this.
See Forrest Gump thinks he knows what love is, but this film would argue otherwise.
Some years back, a friend of mine got held up at gunpoint. The thief told him to give him his wallet. What would you do? Most of you would probably say you would give the wallet and get the hell out of there. Did my friend do that? Nope. My friend was angry that he was about to get robbed, and so when the man told him to give him his wallet, my friend said, perhaps stupidly, “Shoot me.” Now luckily, the thief was bluffing and said, “Oh man! You of all people” and then ran away. He wasn’t a murderer, but hoped he would scare his victim enough to get some cash (he did scare the crap out of him, by the way).
I often think about that.
The given circumstances in this film present being in a relationship as a high stakes matter. Currently in our real life society, typically one of four things happen involving unhealthy relationships:
- We stay in the bad relationship and just are unhappy
- We get a divorce and become single or try again
- We become single due to death in which case we might try again at a relationship
- We are always single and fine with it, or always dating and well, trying
This movie presents a world where you cannot be single. So, being in a relationship is not just about avoiding loneliness, it is a matter of survival. You think people you know are desperate for love? What if they knew if they didn’t find it, they would be turned into an animal? You see my point.
Why this is interesting is that you can get to the root of what it means to be truly in love with someone when it is such high stakes:
My favorite scene is when a Loner gives a gun to a man, and asks him how much on a scale he loves his wife, and he gives a high number on the scale. He is told he must kill her, and he knows that he will get killed if he doesn’t kill her. So what does he do? …What would you do? Would you take a bullet for your bride?
Check out this film because it raises the stakes on relationships to a level we rarely see in the movies, and it makes us think about our own significant others, perhaps in ways we never did before. That, in my opinion, is exactly why the director made this very bizarre picture. This is thought provoking stuff, but be careful because the story will likely bother you, as it did my friend who saw it with me—seriously, it’s a tough ride.