TIFF Report: The Lobster
Who’ll love it: Fans of high concept dystopian art cinema. Also: anyone struggling to find a suitable companion.
What it’s about: In a bizarre future society, all single people must check into an authoritarian hotel full of other single people. They have 45 days to find a new mate or they are be transformed into the animal of their choosing, and released into the wild. After being left by his wife, David (Colin Farrell) checks into one of these institutions, and attempts to abide by the hotel’s bizarre rules. After finding himself in an unusually dysfunctional relationship, he flees into the forest where he lives with a group of single outcasts who reject this society’s rigid regulations.
Why you should see it: When most people hear the premise of The Lobster, they take the inherent absurdity—which the film mines for many laughs—as evidence that this is a frivolous, disposable film, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Tapping into intriguing colours that Colin Farrell has never previously reveled onscreen, Greek co-writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, ALPS) creates a strikingly specific dystopian world that offers very real insight into the challenges of romantic relationships in an increasingly individualistic world. (As you can imagine, there are many parallels to Her.) The film’s stylized performances and strange figures of authority bring to mind the films of Stanley Kubrick (particularly A Clockwork Orange), but The Lobster ultimately winds up in the even more challenging, esoteric realm of Jean-Luc Godard. In other words, this is not standard Hollywood fare for any of the stars involved. However, adventurous filmgoers in search of thought-provoking cinema should find plenty to appreciate in this award-winning oddity.
Watch the trailer here, and check out the poster below: