The Lobster – Film Review

Colin Farrell is paunchy and hilarious in a surreal, unpredictable comedy

Lord knows what occurred to make this law, but in some alternate present/bizarre future it has been decreed that everyone must find themselves a permanent love. Nobody is allowed to remain single for more than 45 days. Anyone who fails to find a partner the old-fashioned way is sent to a hotel with other singles, in the hope of finding a match. If they don’t they will be turned into an animal, the species of which they, in an act of small mercy, get to choose.

Clearly, The Lobster isn’t your standard rom-com. Director Yorgos Lanthimos is playing around with the belief that humans only count if they’re with someone, that society sees the older single as a bit of a worry, and that any kind of companionship is better than none. His film is by turns extremely funny, rather poignant and a bit annoying and silly. But it’s never predictable.

Colin Farrell plays a recently ditched architect and hotel guest who variously leers at, rejects and nearly kills potential mates, until he finds one by accident in the woods. Farrell is paunchy and sad, and reminds everyone what a strong comic actor he can be (see also: In Bruges). Of a starry support cast, including Rachel Weisz and Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman stands out as the hotel manager who believes humour has no part in romance.

After a delightfully surreal first half the film transforms into a less interesting drama. The animal motif gives way to a muddle of ideas about love and loneliness, betrayal, sex, family.

This is best enjoyed if you don’t like your questions to come with obvious, spoonfed answers, or necessarily even the promise of answers at all. It’s very weird, but mostly good weird.