All single people have to go to a hotel to find a partner within 45 days, state the rules of the City in Yorgos Lanthimos’ stirring drama The Lobster. Those who fail will be transformed into an animal.
After his wife leaves him for another man, David (Colin Farrell) is sent to the hotel with his brother, who had been turned into a dog.
David tries to find a partner. By the rules of the City, it should be someone who is similar to him, but he struggles to find a match. So he pretends to be cold-hearted to pair himself up with someone known as the Heartless Woman (Angeliki Papoulia). When she finds out he is lying, he escapes to the woods and joins the Loners, other escapees who live together and ban emotion.
The film has a dark, satirical atmosphere. The characters barely show any emotion as they conform unthinkingly to their society’s norms.
Lanthimos handles the climactic moments in the movie with brilliant restraint, so even as the actors remain expressionless, the emotional tension is close to bursting, reflected in the dramatic orchestral music throughout.
While the chilling tale seems far-fetched, it’s easy to notice parallels between the City and our own world which may make people think twice about how free they really are.
Contains strong language