I think I can confidently say that this movie isn’t for everybody. The Lobster is perhaps the most absurd and bleak romantic comedy I have ever seen. Actually, I am not even sure if I should even call it a romantic comedy. Requiring some patience for the extremely dry script and slow pace, this film brilliantly comments on the common contemporary notions of love.
Recently divorced, David is immediately sent to a hotel that is somewhat reminiscent of the one from the Shining – isolated and beautiful. Upon his arrival to the hotel, we learn the fundamentals of this universe during his check-in process. Every guest is granted 45 days (more if you capture the single, lonely escapees a.k.a. losers) to find love. And in the event of failure, each guest is turned into an animal of their choice. David wishes to be a long-living, blue-blooded lobster.
To be compatible in this world means to simply share a unique characteristic. For instance, if two people both happen to have similar bleeding disorders, then they are compatible. Similarly, if two people do not have any unique characteristic in common, then they should not even bother trying to foster a romantic relationship. By the very nature of this rule, everybody is reduced to their one distinct feature. The man with speech impediment. The woman with nearsightedness.
Overall, this film is so special in the sense that it is spontaneously all sorts of things: funny, quirky, cute, peculiar, unexpected, cruel, violent, sad and dark. It perhaps playfully critiques the modern romance on superficial online platforms where everybody is essentially reduced to a few photos of themselves and the things they like on Facebook, or the common idea of “if you are single, you must be a loser.” I had to pause it in the middle when I first started watching it, but I am glad I fought through the dryness and eventually finished it. Good first movie of 2017.
Some extra thoughts:
The process of choosing an animal to be would be easier and more interesting if everybody consulted one of those “We can guess which animal you should be based on the color of your favorite socks” Buzzfeed quizzes. But I am sure this cruel, dystopian world doesn’t even have Buzzfeed.
I think I would introduce myself as the woman who cracks her neck every other minute and my boyfriend would definitely be that man who shakes his leg viciously to the point that it feels like an earthquake. I would also probably lie and fake the compulsive leg shaking just to be compatible with him.