Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Released May 13, 2016
Not everyone has an easy time finding love. That's why singles events tend to be very popular and so many people go on so many first dates. Some relationships work, and some don’t. Most societies encourage people to find love, but one oppressive dystopian future demands it, damning those who are unable to couple to a fate worse than being alone. That disturbing worldview is the premise for "The Lobster," in which finding a mate is far from optional.
David (Colin Farell) checks himself into the Hotel, a place where single people are given thirty days to find a partner. If they succeed, they are celebrated and sent to a happy life of tranquility. If they fail, they are turned into an animal of their choosing. As a way of extending their stay, guests at the Hotel take to the forest, where they hunt for Loners, those who have escaped and choose to live alone away from society.
Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film in 2010 for "Dogtooth," the story of three adult children who are taught so many incorrect and untrue things by their possessive parents to keep them from ever leaving the house. This film pairs well with that one, expanding such a frightening mindset into a whole community. It's a fervently engaging and unsettling concept that plays itself out very interestingly, finding people at their worst as they struggle to stay alive and to survive in this harsh reality.
Farell is an intriguing choice to play the lead of this dark, dark comedy, tempering his enthusiasm to create an unfriendly, matter-of-fact man set on achieving his goals without much drama. Rachel Weisz serves as an effective narrator, humorously detailing David's thoughts and adding her opinions to his experience. John C. Reilly, Ben Wishaw, and Jessica Barden contribute memorably as other guests at the hotel, and Olivia Colman and Léa Seydoux both turn in strong performances as the quietly tyrannical rulers of the Hotel guests and the Loners, respectively. Calling this film a comedy disregards its extremely troubling nature, though moments are considerably more wickedly entertaining than “Dogtooth,” while its effects aren't quite as haunting or potent. Still, it's a massively interesting film which paints a truly horrifying picture of what dating could become if it gives in too much to what society wants and expects.