Written by Day Moibi

Arts

Review: The Lobster

Will you enjoy this strange take on modern love? Depends on how you feel about being single, says Day Moibi.

The LobsterI’ve only been in love once and it was a case of being wholeheartedly in love. Since my entry into singledom four years ago, I’ve found out many things, which would perhaps only happen once you stop actively looking for your ‘second half’. Activities I once thought better as a twosome are just as good with one. I’ve discovered who I am and what I really want to do, not in relation to someone else but in relation to myself – I think some may call this freedom.

The Lobster captures the funniest part of being single: realising just how obsessed with love everybody is. Modern love is perhaps the strangest and most surreal ordeal an individual can enter into and, in his first English-language feature, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos captures its absurdity beautifully. The Lobster is a feast of visual aphorisms revealing the slow, uncomfortable tortures that comprise the current paradigm of dating and relationships.

Colin Farrell plays the recently abandoned architect who checks into Olivia Colman’s peculiar hotel for singletons. In this weird and absurd reality, guests have 45 days to find love or be turned into an animal. Farrell wants to be turned into a lobster as they are cold blooded like aristocrats and live for a long time.

taking a pig for a walkHowever, following a series of unfortunate events and an illegal human-to-animal transformation, he runs away and becomes a fugitive. In the wild, he meets and falls in love with fellow outlaw Rachel Weisz, while French actress Léa Seydoux becomes their fascinating and merciless leader.

The Lobster shows a stark dystopian reality that is painfully honest and funny, mocking the extremes we will go through for love. It is not the most coherent film, with concepts and ideas never finding an end. Even the initial premise of being turned into an animal is eventually forgotten. Yet there are so many bizarrely awkward and hilarious scenes that you can dismiss the dead ends as an eccentric rollercoaster that only Lanthimos can control.

Although The Lobster never really comes together in a tight bow, its shortcomings force the viewer to stay observant. It is a film that is deeply creative and captivating and needs to be interpreted rather than watched. Every viewer will find it distinctly different, depending on their own past relationships and current status.

Lanthimos creates a setting where you feel pinched and jabbed and ever-so-slightly uncomfortable. The plot may be absurd and the characters may be lonely but you never think of them as insane. Rather, I was left feeling only empathy and hope for them. For we might all hope to find romantic love eventually, but what The Lobster shows us is that it’s absurd for us to believe that it is the only type of love there is.

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Written by Day Moibi

Day Moibi is an aspiring philosopher who spends most of her time thinking about cheese, the absurdities of life and film.