Review: ‘The Lobster’ by Lanthimos is a nearly perfect absurdist dry comedy

The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and written by Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, is the most interesting film regarding modern relationships. It takes a look at dating and gives it a dystopian twist. The film is an absurdist dry comedy set in an alternative world where single people go to a place called The Hotel. Once there, they are required to find a romantic partner within 45 days, or they will be transformed into an animal of their choice. The film follows David (Colin Farrell), a soft-spoken, straight man searching for a love match. The film is thought-provoking and undeniably excellent. Way back in 2017, The Lobster was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 89th Academy Awards. It’s a well deserved honor for the surreal and darkly funny tone.

Lanthimos’ The Lobster is an acquired taste

The film is definitely an acquired taste, as all of Lanthimos’ films are, but that’s what elevates it. It is its own story. The Lobster is one of a kind and thoroughly intriguing. I found the dating method in this movie to be a bit outlandish, but I don’t think we’re that far from this kind of option when it comes to matchmaking. The practice of arranged marriage has been around for decades. Some people have multiple spouses, usually wives. There are several ways to find a partner nowadays.

The Lobster is full of awkward characters who are craving connection with people. Even if they don’t feel it’s real, they don’t want to be turned into a raccoon or whatever animal they choose. It’s better to be with someone who kind of likes you rather than running around “the woods” as a squirrel. Exploring how dating works in this alternative world really gives you perspective. The ages of the participants at The Hotel range from 18 to even 45 years old.

Still photo from The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos. Image courtesy of the filmmakers.
Still photo from The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos. Image courtesy of the filmmakers.

Surprising performances brought out by smart writing

The main reason I watched this film in the first place was Colin Farrell. I was a massive fan of his for some time, and it’s always fun to see your favorite actor try something new. The writing for this film is incredibly smart. The thing I love most about this movie are the performances. Everyone’s a little weird. Just slightly off, and that’s to be expected. I was so surprised when I saw John C. Reilly in this film, but he also delivered a great performance. Upon my rewatch, I noticed Jessica Barden from American Horror Stories and The End of the F*King World playing Nosebleed Woman. 

John C. Reilly and Colin Farrell in The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos. Image courtesy of the filmmakers.
John C. Reilly and Colin Farrell in The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos. Image courtesy of the filmmakers.

One of my favorites was the incomparable Rachel Weisz from The Mummy franchise, who played the role of the narrator and entered the film as the Short-Sighted Woman. Her pairing with Farrell is genius on the casting director’s part.

The Lobster is an absurdist black comedy where one slight flaw you have makes you incompatible as a love match to the outside world. The Hotel where the film is set attracts those who feel like outcasts in normal society. With the stilted dialogue, everyone in the film lends to the dry and dark comedy.

The Lobster is a nearly perfect film

In my opinion, The Lobster is nearly perfect. If there were a sequence showing how humans are turned into animals, it would add a lot more to the film, grounding it in the realism of this alternative world. A lot of times in dystopian films, there is only the mention of a futuristic idea. Even though it’s not the film’s focus, there is a chance that the people who go to The Hotel will turn into animals. That’s a frightening prospect. For the most part, we, as the audience, see random animals in the woods while participants are outside exercising. Whether these animals are indigenous to the area or participants failed to make a love match is up to the viewer to figure out. And that’s part of the appeal of The Lobster.

Yorgos Lanthimos has brought us an interesting look into a bleak yet humorous world. It’s a unique satire about romance that holds to its dry humor throughout the film. I would classify this film as something that has to be watched more than once.

The Lobster is now streaming.

Have you watched The Lobster or any other Lanthimos film? What did you think? Is it an acquired taste? Leave a message below or connect with us on X @MoviesWeTexted to share your thoughts.

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