The Lobster
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Written by Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou
Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw

The Lobster is the first English-speaking film by the Greek director, Yorgos Lanthimos. Looking at descriptions of two of his earlier works, The Alps and Dogtooth, his mindset becomes clear. He deals with the absurd but only in service of a sharp critique of modern society. In The Alps people impersonate recently dead people to soothe the bereaved. In Dogtooth, children are kept from society until their dogtooth comes in.

In The Lobster, unmarried people are given a period of time at a secluded facility to find a mate. If they are unable to do so they must choose an animal for a second life. (Our hero (Farrell) chooses a lobster). The problem for me started with having seen the trailers for this movie so many times that my brain had created the movie I expected to see. What I did see on the screen was certainly a good movie: thoughtful, artful, original. But I expected something funnier. And the second half, which largely takes place in the forest, is less interesting than the first half’s facility/inn setting. We lose our sense of hopelessness and claustrophobia. The sense of risk begins to dissipate.

Four of us saw it: two ranked it 8/10; one ranked it 3/10. I would put it at 6.5. Perhaps my ability to find humor in the absurd has been saturated by the current political situation. I think I will rewatch it in January. Or maybe not.

Patti Abbott