Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writers: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
With: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux, John C. Reilly, Olivia Colman, Ben Whishaw
Production: Ireland | UK | Greece | France | Netherlands | USA
People tend to call "weird" what they cannot understand, what they fail to fit into their structured perceptions. Many might have introduced this film to you as the "strangest" they have watched and critics might have written about how absurd and unique it is. Very few people will actually tell you what the film is really about, because very few people will manage to put aside their cinematic conventions and dive into this world.
The Lobster is more than a strange film; it is pure and instinctive, it awakens those places in your soul you didn't even know were there. In the world Lanthimos built with his images, people who are incapable of finding a partner are sent to The Hotel, an actual hotel where possible partners can be found. People are given a room number, identical outfits and 45 days to find their ideal partner, someone with whom they share a particular natural characteristic, being blind for example. If they fail to do so, they turn into an animal of their own choice for the rest of their lives.
The residents need to attend the hotel's events, but also be prepared for hunting. That includes going to The Woods, loading tranquilizer weapons and hunting down Loners, people who managed to escape this structured world and live on their own in the wild. If the residents succeed in immobilizing loners, they earn extra days at the hotel.
The film that won the Jury Prize in Cannes this year, Lanthimos first English speaking film, is dealing with a subject cinema loves to visualize; that of pure love. But through a different perspective. How could the world be structured if being alone was a crime? In a society where the inability to find a lover would be punished and the talent to kill lonely people would be rewarded? It must be hard to imagine, but look what Lanthimos has created so far; a seemingly cynical and exaggerated version of reality, where love is the only thing making sense.
Lanthimos has the unique ability to create realities that make us uncomfortable, just because they dare to tell us honestly what we'd rather ignore. In this case, he visualizes the fear of being lonely, the love that flourishes in any circumstance, the obsession humans have on trying to change each other. His images look structured and senseless at first glance, but they unlock a greater depth on how love is perceived. His vision is simple and decisive, his cinema is more liberating than weird and in its unorthodox form it breaks all conventions, expressing universal truths.