‘The Lobster’ is a horrifyingly heartfelt and brilliant tale of love

The brilliant and moving surreal dark comedy The Lobster starring Colin Farrell scheduled for US release March 11.

photo via wikipedia.org under Creative Commons license

The brilliant and moving surreal dark comedy ‘The Lobster’ starring Colin Farrell scheduled for US release March 11.

In a year where genuinely excellent films were few, Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest dark comedy, The Lobster, definitely stands out as one of the best, if not the best, films of the year. And if not the best, definitely the most creative. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a movie this weirdly satisfying since Lanthimos’ Dogtooth.

The premise of the story is this: being alone is outlawed and single people are taken to a hotel in which they remain for 45 days in hopes of meeting a romantic partner; otherwise they are turned into an animal of their choice and set off into the forest. The rest of the story is as ludicrous as you’d imagine it to be.  

This unconventional story about love stars the brilliant Colin Farrell in his most strangely heartfelt role since In Bruges. The genius of Farrell is what makes most of the movie watchable at times, and, thankfully, he is at the point in his career where he can choose to play in independent films such as this because roles such as this are, in my humble opinion, where he’s at his best. Alongside Farrell is a stellar cast including Olivia Colman, a lisping John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux, Rachel Weisz and Ben Whishaw.

Aside from the brilliantly eccentric plot of the film and the amazing cast, the cinematography and soundtrack also make this film stand out. Shot solely in Ireland, the camera tells much of the story. In the woods and in Dublin, the locations and the way they’re shot prove to be an essential part of the adventure. The soundtrack is one of the best this year, featuring the heavy string quartets of Shostakovich balanced expertly between lines of dialogue and operatic Greek music overshadowing long takes in the woods. These elements of the story are vital to creating the simultaneously horrific and beautiful atmosphere of this masterpiece.

But perhaps the most riveting thing about this crazy story is the fact that the world that is created is so complete. This (near?) futuristic dystopia is so carefully crafted by Lanthimos that it all seems so real and so believable. It really gets disturbing at times because it shows that this kind of world isn’t so impossible and that modern society isn’t really as far from it as we’d like to believe we are.

Attempting to take any message or moral from this movie would ruin the purity. There clearly is something being said about the constraints of relationships and societal expectations of coupledom and the haunting fear of aloneness we all face in our everyday lives. However this clearly isn’t the kind of movie that’s meant to teach you something. Like any good film should, it makes you think. But the message here is really up for personal interpretation.

The entire movie possesses this bit of madness that just seems so fit for the subject it’s all centered around: relationships. The occasional glimpses of violence and anger and the overall sense of unknowingness is a perfect metaphor for the fact that in reality, this is what relationships are really like. Amidst the feelings of love and desire, nobody really knows what they’re doing. They’re all just doing it because it feels right.

This film, as beautiful and brilliant as it is, is certainly not for everyone. There is a very specific audience that can appreciate the bizarre, surreal story that is at the foundation of this masterpiece. However, for its genre, this has got to be one of the best ever. As far as dark, offbeat romantic comedies go, The Lobster is all the way up there with Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love.

It’s difficult to admit that this movie might actually be the most perfect movie the year because it’s just so bizarre and surreal. But insanely enough, I’d give this independent film the designation. I was thoroughly impressed with everything this film had to offer, visually, stylistically, and artistically. Without being too dry and boring and also without being too emotional and repetitive, The Lobster really touches a place in the heart that every great film about love should strive to reach.

The Lobster is set for nationwide release on May 13 via A24, but has been out in Europe since last October.

Rating: 10/10