The Lobster

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I have a sneaking suspicion that my grandma wrote this movie for me. I say that because the last time I was at the dinner table with her, she said, “I always thought that I would live long enough to see you get married and have a couple of children. Oh well.”

The Lobster is a bleak, nihilistic assessment of life without a partner. David (Colin Ferrell) is recently single. He travels with his brother, Bob, to a hotel wherein the residents are given 45 days to find a match, or they will be turned into an animal of their choosing. Incidentally, this isn’t Bob’s first time at the hotel. He stayed there once before, but because he was unsuccessful in finding a partner to accompany him on the journey to our eventual conclusion, he’s a dog.

David’s ambivalence at the beginning does an about-face shortly into his stay as the panic of failing sets in. His choice to be a lobster — if he should botch it — would appear to be a solid choice, but as we learn, you must choose an animal that a) won’t be killed and eaten by a bigger animal and b) can find a suitable mate. For example, a camel and a hippopotamus would be an absurd pairing even in the most liberal of circumstances.

The goal here is to find someone with whom you have an undeniable bond. Say, both of you have a limp. Or perhaps you’re both short sighted. Those qualities are the guidelines by which one might find a ride or die.

As dreadful as the process is portrayed in this movie, it certainly speaks to the real life task of finding a mate. You may find someone and live in the city and enjoy a blissful existence forever and ever. Or, you may wind up losing your love and having to start over in a pool of others who’ve essentially been forced to start over as well. Outside of those two scenarios, the third is attractive at first, but then frightening; you may wind up a loner. In that case, you’re accountable to no one. You can dance whenever you like, have a chat, and even masturbate behind whatever tree you choose. But there is little to no chance for romance.

This movie is one of the strangest I’ve seen in awhile. I always thought that In Bruges would be the darkest Colin Ferrell movie I’d ever see. I was sorely mistaken. The Lobster is much darker and the humor is so dry that if you blink, you might miss it.

The Lobster was so far outside of what I was expecting it to be. It does have parts that are funny — like all of the critical endorsements say — but they are enveloped by other bits that are absolutely horrid. The best way I can describe it, is this: you’re at a funeral and the eulogist cracks a joke that you want to laugh at, but the gravity of the situation keeps the sound in your belly, only allowing an arid chuckle to escape.

All of that said, I think it’s worth seeing. It’s like nothing I can think of that I’ve seen before and that’s something special. Even if it made me want to go jump into the river just a little bit. Also, if you’re wondering what animal I would pick, I’m sure that if you think about it for a moment, you can easily figure it out.

 

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