A week or maybe two a go, a friend of mine marathoned The Lobster and told me to check it out. And now I have. This movie, set in a dystopian European setting that looks very much like contemporary society, has the premise that single people, whether they be forever alones or widows, get sent to a hotel in which they have 45 days to fall in love with someone with somebody or get turned into an animal and let out into the wild.
It’s an absurd premise, but it is played totally straight, with deadpan line delivery. Everyone is 100% serious all the time in this, with some bizarre and awkward dialogue, as well as character interactions generally being incredibly awkward. This is intentional, of course and really adds a greater layer of depth to this dystopian society: is this how people always are in this world? Has everyone gotten some form of aspergers syndrome? We don’t know, but it makes for some hilarious moments, especially during the sexual moments. There are also some great visual gags, such as our protagonist David having his right hand cuffed behind his back and we have a scene where he is trying to take off said trousers while having to deal with this. Simple and absolutely hilarious. The first half of the movie is filled with such sequences.
Unfortunately, the second half of the movie drags on just a tad and whilst maintaining the awkward character interactions and deadpan line delivery. However, we do get to meet the people the Hotel hunt, a faction called the Loners. They are basically a filmic interpretation of /r9k/. It is during this second half of the movie that the actual romance part of this romantic comedy comes into play. Here he meets the short sighted woman (Rachel Weisz) and develops a relationship with her that grows as organically and realistically as is possible within the context of the film. However, it is here that the straight faced,awkward line delivery and character interaction become a detriment to the film because for us as an audience, nobody seems like an actual person that we can get too emotionally invested in. Maybe that’s part of the point. I don’t know. But because almost everyone in this film is so awkward, it can make it difficult to differentiate between characters personalities. But maybe that is also part of the point, because every ‘couple’ that is seen in the film, aside from the main romance, is based on the most superficial of characteristics such as having regular nosebleeds.
Should you watch The Lobster? If you want a different approach,an approach that is most easily classified as absolutely absurd, then give it a shot. It’s hilarious and does have some heart to it, it seems self aware but not in a self referential or wink wink nudge nudge way. I felt it ran out of steam a bit in the second half, but as an overall piece, it’s worth watching.