Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Perception of Love

Usually all the new films I see in a month are included in the Watch List. Most of them. But I thought The Lobster deserved a stand alone post.

Having recently seen a film where it's not clear where it's set and it's confusing mixture of accents and location terrain, I was wary about The Lobster. But within a few minutes I accepted this universe. I accepted as if it was something that was real. For me, it was like watching one of my most personal grievances played out as one of the scenarios I thought how things would turn out.

In a world, dystopian future or not, where everyone has to have a partner or they are sent to the sinister 'The Hotel' where they have 45 days to find a partner or they are turned into an animal of their choice, seems extreme but it is played out in such a 'matter of fact ' way where everyone under dramatises their speech, emotions and their environment, everything fits perfectly in this amusing yet terrifying place.  

After his wife of 12 years leaves him for someone else, David (Colin Farrell) is sent away from The City to go The Hotel where he must find a partner in 45 days. Everything is so damn formal. All the men and women are issued the same clothes and forced into awkward seminars and odd interactions as well as being summoned by a siren to hunt 'loners' in the wood, earning extra days for everyone they successfully hit with a tranquilizer. Trying to find a partner in The City is difficult enough but trying to fall in love in this environment is near impossible so some resort to desparate measures.

After an unsuccessful match David had manipulated goes wrong, he escapes into the woods and joins The Loners. The rules of The Hotel are strict enough but The Loners are even more grim. One of the things each person has to do is dig their own grave, as no one will do this for them. Loners are not allowed to flirt or kiss each other and they can barely show affection towards one another. A some group is selected to go into The City every so often to collect supplies but then they must return to the woods. This is where David meets the Short Sighted Woman (Rachel Weisz). They fall in love, showing their affection and I think flirting when they are in The City when they are paired as a decoy couple. One of the only times in the film where the barrier between real emotions and the world that is created is when the two lovers are listening to music in sync and slowly dancing. But, their fate is not a happy one. After the leader of The Loners finds the Short Sighted Woman's notebook from which the film has been narrated up until this point, she takes her anger out on the Short Sighted Woman and therefore crushing David's hope of happiness.

There only seem to be two choices in the society, find a partner to escape being an animal, even if you have to lie to them or be utterly alone with no affection or even emotion forever. Of course there is the third option, become an animal. In the woods, there are plenty of weird and wonderful animals wondering around minding their own business. Of course both groups are flawed and show little forgiveness for either. The would be couples desparately shoot down loners in the hope of extra days. The Loners blurt out uncomfortable truths shattering couples trust in one another.

If you were to delve deeper into this story, it is most definitely an unconventional love story but it is also a comment on how single people are viewed by couples and vice versa. Single people obviously have something wrong with them and couples are constantly lying to each other - apparently.

Another observation was on how couples are deemed worthy of being couples. The residents are obsessed with finding their perfect match. Each couple who make it through the 45 days, and their doesn't seem to be many of them, seem to share one thing in common and this defines them. The couple who like to ski. The couple are interested in science. The couple with nosebleeds. And so on. No one is defined by personality, interests and to be honest, not even by attraction. David is delighted to meet the Short Sighted Woman because of this small trait they share. David wears glasses for the same issue. This small detail doesn't ultimately matter but he clings to it. But when the Loner Leader punishes the Short Sighted Woman, that trait she shares with David is taken away. But their connection is more than this, its obvious. I think they both know it but they find it hard to continue, so they take drastic measures to share a new trait as they als believe that is their connection, forgetting of course that they are in love with one another.

What I learnt from The Lobster is that being single is a crime in the eyes of couples and that being in a couple you keep secrets. But this is not what is true in our society, right? It's a brilliant film upon reflection. My first reaction was mixed, being stumped by the end but then realising there was no other way for it to go. Then, thinking it over, reminding myself of the story and the locations, it was a great film. I have already said it but it is has some hilarious moments but the whole concept is terrifying.


  1. Wow, what a crazy concept! I'm sad to say this is the first time I've heard about The Lobster :(
    I really think I need to give this a watch, but great review!
    - Allie

  2. Thank you! I hope I haven't spoilt anything. I think its a film that grows on you as yes its odd but as soon as it starts, you accept everything that is front of you. It's weird. Hopefully you will get to see it :)