VIFF Review: The Lobster

The Lobster takes place in a world where if you are single for too long, you are turned into an animal, and if you really want to be single, you have to go live in the woods. It sounds weird, and it is, but it’s also a hilarious commentary on our world and relationships and how we sometimes get what’s important wrong. Yes, it’s a bizarre movie, but the best kind of science fiction often is.

Colin Farrell’s wife has just left him, so he is sent to “The Hotel” to find a new mate. He brings his dog, who used to be his brother, with him. If he can’t find a mate, he’s chosen to become the eponymous lobster. His time there is punctuated by people forming relationships based on the slightest and shallowest commonalities and by forays into the woods to hunt the loners living there with tranquillizer guns.

2015 Vancouver International Film Festival

As his time winds down, he eventually runs away to the woods to join the loners, where their leader, Lea Seydoux, informs him that dating is strictly forbidden and that they even only dance alone. Naturally, this is where he meets the love of his life in Rachel Weisz.

I can’t say much else without giving away more than I should, but if you enjoy the type of Sci-Fi in which the main character is trying to navigate a world filled with extremist characters, you will like this movie. If you like that type of movie but populated with characters, nearly all of whom have hidden depth, then you will love this movie. Even characters who don’t get a lot of time, such as Olivia Coleman’s Hotel Manager, clearly have more going on than meets the eye, and her relationship with her husband only highlights how ridiculous the set-up is (they have a duet early in the film which is one of the films comedic highlights).

Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz both do very well at developing their characters attempts to fit into communities to which they clearly don’t belong. Their performances are nuanced and great. They exist in a world where characters are always struggling with whether they should say what they really think or just try to fit into their situation, and they both sell this fantastically.

The Lobster is a weird story, but it’s the right kind of weird story that holds up a mirror at aspects of our society. IF you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend you do so.