Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
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★★★★½ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd
i want to be turned into a giant sea turtle so i can watch this movie for 150 years.
ALSO: The Lobster Colin Farrell is *so good* that he makes True Detective Colin Farrell look like Winter's Tale Colin Farrell.
not sure i can remember a director so gracefully moving away from his native language (maybe Park Chan-wook with Stoker, but other, less recent examples elude me). in many respects, this feels like the *most* Lanthimos movie to date, a touch broader than his usual stuff but no less insightful or resonant for it. methinks it's less a study of singledom vs. monogamous coupling than it is an uncertain portrait of the mysterious hows & whys of what brings people together, the cost of it falling apart, and the danger of trying to force the issue. but return visits and more time to chew are a must.
★★★★★ review by Arielrocks5 on Letterboxd
It's interesting how much the two halves of this film complement each other in what they try to say.
The first is very blunt and obvious in how it tackles the ideas of love in the eyes of our society, but the second is a much more disturbed and gentle means of showing how much we do need some people in our lives, and how being on our own all the time isn't always the answer.
We need companionship as much as we need our own space, but in the air of our world, we can't seem to accept this fact. It's always one extreme or the other.
I don't think I was that exposed in the realms of dark humor when I first watched this to catch on to all the genuinely hilarious moments (such as the overbearing music playing over particularly mundane sequences filmed in slow motion and how blunt and painful everything everyone says is in the Hotel half of the film) and how richly detailed a lot of the screenplay is.
Yorgos Lanthimos seems to be a guy with a lot to say but ultimately relies on the viewer to make out what exactly he's trying to say in the first place. I'm still not quite sure what to make of the ending in terms of what it means for the rest of the film's themes and one detail pointed out about it that still puzzles me, but I think I've gained a greater appreciation for it then when I first saw it.
I'm glad I gave this a rewatch and the rating it truly deserves. I look forward to finding a place for it among my all time favorites.
P.S: Colin Farrell and his incredible tummy and mustache combo were snubbed.
★★★★★ review by Lucy on Letterboxd
i just realized there isn't a single lobster in this movie
★★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
How does one even begin to describe the enigma that is Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster? Since reading a brief description of its bizarre narrative months ago, it has been one of my most anticipated films of the year, and those familiar with Lanthimos’ previous work (most notably his 2009 Academy Award nominated film, Dogtooth) are probably aware of how strange his work can be - but never without justification. The Lobster tells the story of David (Colin Farrell), a man who has recently been left by his partner and decides to check into The Hotel, where he has a month and a half to meet a new, suitable partner otherwise he will be transformed into the animal of his choice.
The film functions as part absurdist comedy, part dark romance and part social satire. The comedy is sharp and the romantic elements provide it with a sense of lightness which would have otherwise been absent; the execution of its societal commentary, however, is what sends it into uncharted territory, and the main reason why it comes across as such a deeply original work. Lanthimos’ pokes fun at certain commonalities of the modern romantic relationship, such as the notion that “birds of a feather flock together,” by utilizing the element of exaggeration. For instance, each character in the film has their singular unique characteristic. David is nearsighted, and thus is only interested in finding a woman who is nearsighted as well. The Limping Man (Ben Whishaw) pursues a woman who suffers from frequent nosebleeds, and so in order to capture her attention and fool her into thinking that they are a match, he begins inflicting trauma upon his nose, causing it to bleed when in her presence.
When I first saw Dogtooth, I praised it for its technical mastery: its carefully framed static shots, sharp editing and claustrophobic production design. Still, something held me back from fully embracing it, and looking back on the viewing experience now, I’m certain it was that I had a difficult time trying to figure out what it was saying about civilization. Its surreal and otherworldly, for sure, but what sort of comment is it trying to make about the human condition? It is indeed a tough egg to crack. The Lobster, on the other hand, is much more coherent (and dare I say accessible) in its satire. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, as I never thought I would be describing a Lanthimos film as accessible, but I definitely think people will have an easier time figuring out the meaning behind all of the madness here.
The technical elements of The Lobster are just as sound as those of Dogtooth, and aesthetically similar. The cinematography is almost perpetually static and much attention is paid to the framing of certain shots, which is interesting because it allows the director to isolate aural elements such as off-screen noises that, though they cannot be seen, having a significant bearing on specific scenes. The musical score is jarring, but not in a negative way; I imagine it will be one of the first technical aspects that viewers take notice of, as its a loud and powerful score which makes itself known within the first few minutes of the film’s runtime. There isn’t much that I would change about The Lobster. If I was to suggest anything to the editors, it would be to pick out and remove certain scenes which might not seem as pertinent as others, for the film does exhaust a bit in its third act. Aside from that though, it is a hilarious and biting critique of interpersonal relationships that is sure to appeal to a wider audience than Lanthimos‘ previous works, and may bring him back into the limelight when award season rolls around.
★★★★ review by Matt Singer on Letterboxd
First half still works way better than the second for me, but the purpose of the two together did feel clearer this time out, namely that while the hotel stuff is obviously a satire of relationships, dating, and societal pressure to couple up, the forest's target is a bit more diffuse (and yeah, obviously it inverts the dynamics so now instead of mandatory coupling even flirtation is outlawed). Combined, they add up to this cautionary tale about the way rigid governments impose their values on their citizens, and how close-minded people try to convince others (and often themselves) that their beliefs are not only the correct ones but the only ones. In the end, that sort of thinking can leave you blind to the truth that happiness can't be regimented or regulated. And right now, that feels like a pretty timely message.
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