"The Lobster": Good Catch!

What kind of a future world is this? If you don't find a partner in 45 days, you will be turned into an animal. The good news is that you get to select what kind of animal you become.

Yet in the face of this threat, David (Colin Farrell) remains stoic, laconic, strangely passive. He wakes every day in The Hotel, which doubles as a holding facility for the unpaired. He dresses in his suit and tie, as do all the unpaired men; women are formally attired, too. He attends functions lethargically, unenthusiastically even though he is accompanied by his brother who has already been transformed into a dog. Breakfast at the same seat daily. Occasional half hearted conversations.

Sure he asks someone to dance at the socials. But he never seems to exert himself . . . despite the mandatory propaganda films extolling the virtues of partnership. . . even with animal life closing in on him!
Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos science fiction romantic comedy "The Lobster" bristles with tongue in cheek humor, ample social commentary lovingly framed with restraint. This stylized comedy of manners is a well staged ballet.

Lanthimos captures the contradictions and tensions, needs and dangers involved in gender relations. His world is more one of dysfunction than dystopia. The Singles in The Hotel are encouraged to find romance, not just to pair. They have every comfort. They can lengthen their pre-animal existence by hunting The Loners who have escaped The Hotel and populate The Forest, shooting them with tranquilizer guns so that they may be turned into animals. Hotel Singles are forbidden any sexual activity before pairing. But Hotel Maids stimulate them with visually indelible erotic calisthenics that fall somewhere between manipulation and masturbation.

David makes the acquaintance in The Hotel of the hapless Lisper (John C. Reilly), who painfully breaks the ban on masturbation. He enters into a relationship with Heartless Woman (Angeliki Papoulia). He encounters Loner Leader (Lea Seydoux). But most touchingly he encounters Short Sighted Woman (Rachel Weisz).

Will David find happiness and fulfillment with any of them? Will he teach us anything about social relations or yield a glimpse into the future? Or will he end up a lobster?

Neither fish nor foul, the future for Lanthimos film is bright indeed. Already it was selected to compete for Palme D'Or and won Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival and 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Full of surprises and quirky humor, this film will not become a turkey!

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