By: Christine Thompson
Cannes Film Festival Grand Jury winner THE LOBSTER is a fable of a dystopian realm, similar but different to our present day reality in which the oppressive rules of society govern the pairing of mates with a set of uniform rules. Woe be unto the transgressors that don’t fit in. If they find themselves without a mate, for whatever reason, they are given 45 days at The Hotel, a dreary British compound with gray walls and even grayer people. In those 45 days they must find a mate, or be turned into an animal of their choice.
The Hotel is run by a husband and wife team (Olivia Coleman & Garry Mountaine ) who set up the rules at the outset The manager explains what the rules for finding a mate are, and even if you fail and are turned into an animal you can’t escape them as she intones “A wolf and a penguin cannot live together, because that would be absurd.”
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth) as his first English language film début, THE LOBSTER stars Colin Farrell as David and Rachel Weisz as Short Sighted Woman (also the narrator of the film) as two who fall outside of the expectations society has placed on them and are banished from The Hotel to live in the woods with other “Loners.” Naturally, they fall in love, which is against the rules in the Loner’s group. In fact, sex and kissing of any kind is highly discouraged in this group, with horrible consequences like “the red flower” and the even worse “red intercourse” if the rules are broken.
As the film progresses, the brilliance of the script is played out as you start to realize what Lanthimos is ultimately saying about our own modern-day society and the expectations that are placed upon couples and singles in the real world. In the end, THE LOBSTER is a brain exercise that leaves you thinking long after you leave the theater. THE LOBSTER opens May 20th in Austin.