The Lobster

Film, Comedy
3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(22user reviews)
The Lobster

The director of 'Dogtooth' brings a surreal spin to modern relationships for his English-language debut

Jokes about whether or not you can crack it will inevitably follow ‘The Lobster’ into cinemas – where audiences will have to decide whether the film’s deadpan weirdness and high-concept ruminations on love and life are for them or not. This is the first English-language film from Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (‘Dogtooth’) and it’s shot in Ireland, although we’re never told that explicitly. It has an eye-grabbing ensemble cast – Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and Ben Whishaw included – and for about an hour of its near-two-hour running time it’s deliciously engaging and sharp, mixing awkward chuckles with sinister chills. But it’s tough to maintain the sort of conceit on which ‘The Lobster’ rides, and the film feels spent long before the credits roll.

It’s set now, in and around an edge-of-town hotel, noteworthy only for its lack of noteworthiness. But look beyond the bland carpets and you’ll find that there’s a strange system at play: it’s compulsory for singles to check in here to find a partner, under the eye of tyrannical staff – footsoldiers for a tyranny of coupledom. If you’re not in a relationship, you’re in purgatory: straights are fine, so are gays, but bisexuals are outlawed just like half shoe sizes. If you don’t find a partner within 45 days, you’ll turn into an animal (Farrell, our main focus, has already decided he’ll be a lobster). If you escape, your fellow captives will hunt you down with tranquiliser darts: for each ‘kill’, you gain a day.

Yes, ‘The Lobster’ is arch: this is cinema in quotemarks, tongue-in-cheek storytelling that uses absurdity to hold a mirror to how we live and love. At its best, it has incisive things to say about how we shape ourselves and others just to banish the fear of being alone, unloved and friendless. Is it a cynical film, scoffing at romance and relationships? Or perhaps the most idealistic movie ever, arguing for truth and honesty on the path to love and happiness? Perhaps it’s both. If only it were able to maintain the best of its scabrous, surreal, inquiring writing all the way through instead of releasing it in short sharp bursts.

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Release details

Release date:
Friday October 16 2015
Duration:
118 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Yorgos Lanthimos
Screenwriter:
Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Cast:
Colin Farrell
Léa Seydoux
Rachel Weisz
John C. Reilly

Average User Rating

3.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:9
  • 3 star:7
  • 2 star:4
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|22
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Tastemaker

Loses its way in the 2nd half and could do with pruning by 20 minutes but this is largely a brilliantly dark surreal comedy which needles into 21st Century relationships and dating. Colin Farrell gives an excellent performance, with great work from Ben Whishaw and John C.Reilly (channeling his Dr Steve Brule role ever so slightly).

Tastemakertastemaker

A very unusual film but if you like arthouse you will love this! Very quirky with a great atmospheric score.

Tastemaker

The Lobster seems very much like an arthouse film and won't be for everyone, but I for one enjoyed the deadpan downplayed acting of the stellar cast and the pace at which I moved. Funny, sad and touching all at the same time, the first half of the film set in the hotel where people must find a mate or be turned into an animal is definitely more entertaining than the second half that mostly takes place in the woods and follows a band of people called the loners who have chosen to shun the dystopian lifestyle and live life their own way. Not to everyone's taste but I thought this movie had a really bittersweet edge to it and was vey funny to boot in a very different way to what I've seen before.


"We dance alone. That's why we only play electronic music."

The Lobster takes place in a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.

The Lobster is a film that's both strange and completely bizarre, but rather brilliant as well. It's one of those movies that's so different with it's story and visuals that it's quite intriguing to watch. The cinematography was tremendous and the movie isn't predicable, as many times it takes a different turn for the best. Yorgos Lanthimos knows what he's doing and I can tell what he was going for when it came to the self aware moments. Every choice Lanthimos made in this movie when it came to the acting was done on purpose, as it fitted well in this unusual world that these people lived in. The movie isn't not for everyone (or just like every movie I like), but hey, everyone is different.

Tastemaker

I’m a pretty patient person when it comes to movies. I’ll watch most things – although Michael Bay does test my limits of endurance – and I’m open to films that are a little bit out of the ordinary. ‘The Lobster’ definitely falls into that category. The other categories it falls into are a) films that I hated, b) films that are pointless and c) films that infuriate me when I remember I’ll never get that time back.

This film should be considerably better than it is. It has a more-than-capable cast (Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and the always splendid Olivia Colman) and an interesting premise but it totally fails to deliver and neither the actors nor the idea can save it from wallowing in its own stagnant pretentiousness. The first third of the film is the most interesting as we watch singletons check into a hotel in which they must find love or risk being transformed into an animal of their choosing but if you asked me with mild curiosity why this is, I couldn’t tell you because after two hours of this drivel, I neither knew nor cared. We’re introduced to a supporting cast who could normally knock your socks off at ten paces (John C Reilly, Ben Whishaw & Ashley Jensen) but they disappear from the story and the screen when Farrell escapes into nearby woods where he falls in love with Rachel Weisz who delivers the single most monotone & depressing voiceover throughout the film I’ve ever heard and struggles against Lea Seydoux as the tiresome ‘villain’ of the piece.

It’s not that the movie is boring, it’s that it’s so boring I found myself struggling to remember why I was watching it and yet I stuck with it. For some inexplicable reason, I stayed until the dreary, depressing, dull ending where nothing was tied up and no explanations were given. I’m not the kind of person who needs everything spelled out for her but there was so little to go on here as to border on the ridiculous.

The score was jarring and un-nerving delivering occasional moments of tension that were sadly never replicated in the script or the acting, the whole look of the film was grey & washed out and when the last scene finally rolled around, I couldn’t decide if I was more relieved that it was over or enraged that I’d subjected myself to it at all. This was a film made by the director for nobody but himself, something that became woefully apparent as it progressed. Michael Bay come back, all is forgiven.


The dialogue in this film is some of the worst I have heard. Really terrible. And the actors deliver it with all the sincerity of a train platform tannoy. It's an interesting idea for half an hour, not that well executed and nothing but tedious by the end. Cynical and sneering.

Tastemaker

This is a strange, highly stylized world where people have a distinct lack of affect. For all its strangeness, though, the film is essentially a meditation on a very basic yet important idea: the difficulty and arbitrariness of making a strong romantic connection. Plot-wise, it keeps you guessing, with a shift in focus midway through.

Staff Writer

It's not very often that you experience a film that completely throws the rule book out of the window. And though this did land on a few expected beats, as a whole, this absurd, surreal film exposed me to a completely bonkers story performed in a ludicrous but effective way. The acting was so stylised it was jarring. The plot was so bizarre that I was often left numb with disbelief. The brutality of it was nothing short of shocking. But it all worked and made a film I'll think about for a long time to come. It's by no means for everyone, in fact, I think most will hate it. But for a handful of people, it's going to be one of their favourite movies of the past couple of years.

Tastemaker

After watching this movie I was left wondering if I had like it or not. 

Actually for a few minutes I was trying to decide how to review this movie.

Having posted on Facebook that I was watching this film a few of my friends commented so I decided to use their comments as my review.


Filipa from Portugal: "I loved it! At least the first half. The second half is a bit boring..."

Karthik from the UK: "It's so strange..."

Isabel from the UK: "Great film!  Weird but I loved it."


So yes I agree with them, it will leave you with a wide spectrum of feelings, you might love it but there's a possibility that you'll hate it too...and who knows you might even love and hate at the same time...personally I can't decide. 




Tastemaker

Totally ingenious premise to make a movie on. The humour takes a little getting used to but I loved every part of it. The movie starts really well but then gets slightly twisted... Not for the faint of heart, especially the ending... which I won't spoil for you. Star-studded cast really was a strong pull factor as well and they definitely lived up to their star names. Overall a decent film and worth getting the dvd for as well! 

Tastemaker

I knew the storyline of this film when I watched it but I still didn't really know what to expect. Whatever it was, it wasn't this. This is a brilliantly original concept that is well presented with a star cast but that does not make it any less peculiar. There is no box for me to put it into.

I laughed out loud in places and yelped in shock in others and I'm not entirely sure what I watched but I liked it.

Tastemaker

This film is weird. But despite its oddities and surrealistic black comedy take on society’s perception of relationships this is actually a surprisingly good film. I don’t think this will be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s sure to inspire and spark off debate and opinions afterwards. A well known cast and dramatic almost comical musical underscore. The climax at the end will leave you wondering..


Tastemaker

There’s a Marmite effect to this movie –you either love it or hate it.


The utterly weird concept, the very slow-pace and the sometimes ultra-violent scenes could all be a turn off. But give this film a chance and you might find that it delivers a unique take on love and human connections, with Colin Farrel’s performance excelling in bringing it to life.


You leave the cinema wondering what you truly want from a relationship and that’s incredible. Re-evaluating your Tinder choices, you’re left redefining and questioning the concept of love in modern societies. Whether you’re a proud singleton or a desperate single, whether you’re in a contented relationship or in a failing marriage, the emotions this film stirs are way too real to dismiss.

Tastemaker

I really didn't know what to expect & mostly expected not to enjoy it!

I'm really glad I saw it, but wish it had been a bit shorter & more focused. It came across as a series of interesting ideas & concepts combined with some good performances & quality visuals. But I left overly puzzled & dissatisfied.

It's got a great cast & as my tweet said it was Lars Von Triers meets Wes Anderson with a sprinkling of extra oddness!


An absurd film but with very little funny moments.Therefore an absurd film which is not funny is a stupid film..Each scene seems to have been made up as they filmed.This means a lack of continuity..Some strong visuals and the acting was better than the narrative..Overall this film had very little of interest as one quickly tires of the repetitive absurdity.It is trying too hard not to be understood and becomes too self conscious in driving home the weirdness. 2 stars

Tastemaker

Weird film, bizarre premise, strange acting. I really liked it – although my friends thought it a little forced and pretentious. I guess you have to embrace the strangeness and irony to fully appreciate it... 

In a world where only couples are accepted, single people go to a hotel to find a partner or, if unsuccessful, be transformed into an animal. Colin Farrell tries to find love, or at least adapt to any possible relationship to be kept alive (and human). Outside the hotel, he encounters a clandestine world – that only welcome singles. Beyond the over the top cynicism, all the absurdity, and the maybe overstated criticism of our own views on love and relationships, there is still a fun film that may lead to some rethinking on these matters. 

Tastemaker

Surreal doesn't even begin to cover this film!  The first half of the film is thoroughly entertaining and had me laughing out loud.  The second part though made me feel as if I'd just fallen off a cliff into a film abyss.  I really couldn't wait for it to end and was counting down the minutes, several people walked out.  It's a shame really as I really, really did like the beginning.  

Tastemaker

The antithesis of a feel-good movie

The Lobster is a wonderfully unpleasant film that does not want you to like it. It is very well made, well acted and it does make you think about the nature of relationships. The stilted dialogue, the strange sets and odd interpersonal dynamics become irritating by the end of the film, but the discomfort is intentional.

I have to say it was a very good film - I am really pleased that I saw it and I do recommend it, but I won't be watching it again.

tastemaker

Having seen  "Dogtooth" I was expecting  outrageous & off the wall, which "The Lobster" has.

However I was also expecting more humour, more wit, and with such a great cast much more interest which it fails to deliver.There is dark humour, but it's silly rather than funny, and much of it is little more than unpleasant.