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The Lobster: How far would you go for love?

Film

In a seemingly parallel world, in a city which is recognisably Irish, David’s wife has just told him she’s leaving. At his feet, a dog gives him the sad eyes.

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Because of this catastrophic change in relationship status, David has to go to The Hotel, where he is given 45 days to find a new partner or he will turn into an animal of his choosing.

The woman who is checking David into The Hotel asks about the dog at his side: “This is my brother. He was here a couple of years ago but he didn’t make it.”

When David finds he’s not quite making it, he runs away and joins The Loners, who hunt and live in The Woods. They’re rebels, but their rules are just as strict as those running The Hotel. While The Hotel demands people be in a relationship, The Loners forbid it.

The Lobster is the most unique take I’ve encountered on the question: “How far would you go for love?” And not only that, it simultaneously poses the question: “How far would you go to pretend you’re in love?” It’s a provocative examination of the importance we place on marriage and long-term partnerships.

Director Yorgos Lanthimos and his long-time co-writer Efthymis Filippou give us an unconventional love story wrapped in monotone dialogue and expressionless faces. This approach emphasises the humour as out-of-place, ultimately making the film a bewitching one.

Colin Farrell’s performance as David is in-the-moment and totally convincing, as is that of Rachel Weisz, who plays David’s love interest, The Short Sighted Woman. Other characters include The Lisping Man, Nosebleed Woman and Limping Man. It’s almost Wes Anderson-stuff but Lanthimos’s type of filmmaking is darker.

There is a great amount of violence offsetting the humour. And it is, essentially, hilarious.

This is Lanthimos’s first English film. His second feature, Dogtooth, won him numerous awards and a legion of fans – Weisz being one of them. The Lobster will no doubt bring Lanthimos even greater international recognition; it is a completely absurd film and in my opinion, it’s completely brilliant.

 

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