The Lobster SPOILER-FREE Review
The Lobster has been getting a lot of buzz as an oddball, outlandish comedy. It right now stands at a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Plus, our other writer, Rob, had seen the film early and has been raving about it for months. So I've been interested in seeing this movie for a while. I stayed away from most of the trailers, but I knew the basic premise, and it seemed like something that could turn out to be something rather special. And I finally got a chance to see it in its limited theatrical run. The Lobster is a ridiculous movie, but it's grounded in a positively stale atmosphere that makes the comedy more dry, and allows the science fiction elements of the movie to move to the back-burner in favor of character development and a meaningful love story.
In a dystopian near-future, single people must move to the Hotel, where they have forty five days to meet a partner and marry, or else they are turned into an animal of their choice to live the rest of their lives as. The film follows David (Colin Farrell) as he tries to find a suitable partner.
The Lobster really works as a dry comedy. None of its humor is forced, and it doesn't employ one-liners. Instead, it relies on awkwardness to bring about its unique style of comedy. Awkward dialogue and awkward situations makes The Lobster a hilarious comedy, one that isn't necessarily gut-busting, but rather a nice complement to its tragic and horror undertones. This film also supplies a lot of science fiction elements, but it's all in the background. It takes place in the future, but the film isn't "futurized". There are machines turning people into animals, but there is a scene where the science behind this is explained. Director Yorgos Lanthimos goes out of his way to keep this film grounded in realism, which works fantastically for the film.
The performances in this film are also really good. Farrell is great as David, and allows for you to sympathize and grow attached to his character. Rachel Weisz is equally great as the short-sighted woman (that is how she is credited), and their chemistry together is palpable. There are also great, smaller performances by Lea Seydoux and John C. Reilly, which work to further enhance the film. The love story is the core of the film, and it really works. Like I said before, the chemistry is very apparent, and it never feels false or cheesy. It comes about naturally, and you believe it. It's a very strong part of the film, and the movie would have failed if this element failed. Luckily, it didn't.
I don't have many complaints. I will say that I felt the movie was a bit too long, and parts of it dragged on. There were some repetitious scenes, and these could have been cut out to make a leaner film. The love story also does come into play until half-way through the film, and the first half could have used a little more momentum to keep the story going. Some sort of connective thread could have enhanced the film even more, but instead it feels like it's a movie and its sequel, as opposed to one film. You'll see what I mean when you watch the movie. But then again, these were more minor things. Fixing these problems would have made a really good movie great, but they didn't sink the ship at all.
Overall, The Lobster is a really bizarre film that excels at its dry comedy. It's central love story is strong, led by two great performances by Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, who have great chemistry. Yorgos Lanthimos does a great job of making the science fiction elements of the movie fall into the background, to let the grounded, more human story of the film take the spotlight. This allows for a more immersive experience, rather than a movie focused simply on showing us the future. The film, however, is a bit long and could have had a few scenes removed. It also feels like two different films, and could have used some connective tissue to branch together the first and the second half of the movie. But in the end, The Lobster works as an enjoyable oddball comedy that has some very personal and horrifying moments.
What do you think? Have you seen The Lobster? Did you like it? Leave your (spoiler-free) thoughts in the comments section below.
Written by: Nate
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