Film review: The Lobster


An enigmatic title and a darkly humorous trailer boded well for Yorgos Lanthimo’s first English-speaking film, but can it stack up to the expectation?…

In a packed out cinema on a late Thursday night, you could mistake the crowd for a Spectre showing, but no, the room is full of anticipation for this strange but amusing film. The darkly humorous cat and mouse of finding a mate is played out in operatic style with a touch of Hitchcock’s The Birds, set to a modern European backdrop as it starkly pulls back the skin of our human endeavours at building relationships.


Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz bringing the story to life.

David (Colin Farrell) is newly single and looking for a new partner. Having enrolled into a mandatory scheme to achieve such goals, he has forty-five days to choose a partner or his preferred reincarnation. Farrell’s ability to act with such accepting aplomb helps us swallow this absurdity with very little trouble. Within this regimented lifestyle the nuances of relationships are beautifully painted on the bland social landscape, be it a white lie pretending you have nose bleeds for empathy or throwing yourself out of a window in desperation.

After a time we are introduced to those who fiercely defend their right to singularity, led by Lea Seydoux with a tempered zeal that is chilling. The tribe, ensconced in the nearby pine forest, are poached for sport by those in the hotel as a right of passage to finding a mate. Occasionally through these woodlands also traipse the motley crew of wistful animals who had hoped for relationship but failed. Set apart from the hotel, the landscape indicates freedom, yet as the eventual and beautifully orchestrated connection between Farrell and Rachel Weiss blossoms, the dark social constraints of this society looms ominously.

The tensions placed by clever cinematography, musical score, writing and acting come together perfectly. The film is brutal in exposing the truths in all our actions and made palatable by the dark humour and slightly removed Sci-Fi-esqe world. The use of the light and dark together is what makes this film exceptional, it is enjoyable however deep you want to reach into its meaning, and something that all films should aspire too.

It is a film for those who like dark comedy, a light sprinkling of horror and something to take away other than a laugh or a scream as the credits roll. In fact, it does these things so well even if you want just one of the three you will still be a happy punter.

Author – Joe, Bath store.