Most reviews had warned of the weirdness of this film, au contraire it whetted my appetite cause I have never seen a film like this before: performance, sound and humour. So how does “The Lobster” relate to the story: it does. That’s for you to find out. Doesn’t it sound fun, but weird already?
The story took place in a picturesque sea resort at a conference hotel. It was narrated by Short Sighted Woman (Rachel Weisz); her tonal expression was flat and emotionless, likened a table-read. The narration focused on the main character, David(Colin Farrell), a guy re-entering singlehood after his troubled marriage. In lieu of him being dumped, he had a companion: a border collie.
David is at the reception desk signing a waiver for his stay at the hotel. The woman, face hidden, asks,”sexual preference?” David says, “woman…however, I had one homosexual experience in the past in college.” “Is there a bisexual option available?”… “…register as a homosexual or heterosexual?” … When he finishes, he goes to a clothes check table and hands in all his clothes. The facility supplies guests with their own wardrobes: identical shirts, pants, socks, and shoes. It is David first day in a place for people who are newly single, but coupled before. In fact, it is a rehab for the singles, and each one has 45 days to find a partner in order to reintegrate into the city life; otherwise they will be transformed or in worse case bury in their own, self-digged, grave.
That’s where director, Yorgos Lanthimos, was sending us to, a world that is familiar but incomprehensible. A place that had rules and schedules in the most unbelievable ways.
In the morning, the group have breakfast, then they are allowed to stroll and talk in groups or single. Once an alarm sounded, they have to prepare for their hunt. The purpose of the hunt is to gain additional days at the resort: 1 kill for one extra day. The Heartless Lady(Angeliki Papoulia) has the best record of 158 kills.
In the third act we saw the Short Sighted Woman(SSW) in person. SSW is part of a group of renegades from the hotel, and their leader is Loner Leader(Léa Seydoux), who has her set of rules for her members. One of them is no flirting is allowed, else they will be punished either by “Red Kiss!” or in the worst case “Red Intercourse!”
As much as the delivery of the film was unconventional, nonetheless, it was riddled with an importance existential question: single or couple. Coupledom was the norm in the film, while singlehood was in needs of therapy and help. In addition, singles were the killing targets at the hunts, where they were eliminated for the common goods of people.
The humours were obviously built around this theme, and there were a lot of them. They were mostly poking fun at people who stayed married, even though one hated the other immensely.It is the combinations of the factual conversations, emotionless expressions, satirical humours that will draw you into this usual tale of one single man. Surly without the actors’exceptional performances (esp. kudo to a pudgy lovable Farrell), it might have been one big disaster.