Wednesday, June 8, 2016
The Lobster Review
How about this for a premise? We're in some sort of dystopian future, I'm guessing. The specific timeline of the movie is unclear. But in this society, single people are essentially hunted down based on the laws of the city and sent to this hotel. Once you arrive at this hotel, you have 45 days to find a companion. If you fail, you are turned into an animal of your choice and sent off into the woods. There's a lot of strict rules in the hotel and the general goal is to drive into the minds of people how much better it is to be married and how awful it is to be single. Colin Ferrell is our star and he plays a man named David. David has been sent to the hotel because he recently got divorced. With him is his brother. Who is a dog. Because he went through the hotel and failed. Thus he is now a dog. David's animal of choice is a lobster and that's where the title of our movie comes from. If David doesn't find a companion in 45 days, he will be turned into a lobster. This premise sold me immediately. It premiered last May at the Cannes Film Festival and spent 2015 making the festival rounds before finally hitting normal theaters just a few weeks ago. Because I'm not cool enough to go to film festivals, I of course had to wait like the rest of you, but once it came, I took the first chance I could get to see it.
I will say that this movie shocked me. I was expecting a fun, hilarious film that didn't take itself too seriously, but would be a great satirical commentary on the dating scene in the 21st century. I say it shocked me because this is not at all the movie I was expecting. It's not a light-hearted, fun comedy. It's also not serious and dark. This is completely messed up and weird. There is humor in the movie, but it's deadpan humor. It's the most deadpan movie that I can think of. All of the actors are emotionless and humorless throughout the whole movie. The tone of the movie is uncomfortable. The score itself gets very grinding at times and almost hard to listen to. You think the idea of this hotel and being turned into animals after 45 days is weird? That's just the beginning. This movie goes in so many strange, bizarre directions that you don't see coming at all. All of this had me completely speechless. As in I had no idea what to think of it. What in the fetch am I watching? That's what I was thinking the whole time. When I left the theater, I was super confused. And if you think based on this that I'm going rip this movie to shreds and give it a horrible review, you couldn't be more wrong. Strange and confusing isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes the most epic movies made are the ones that make no sense.
While I do realize that I probably need more time to digest this, here's my initial thoughts as to the meaning and purpose of this movie. First off, this is very metaphorical. In our day, we don't have a setup where you are given 45 days to get married or you get turned into an animal, but metaphorically speaking, isn't that what we sometimes expect? We expect people to get married by a certain time. There's a ton of pressure. If you don't get married by a certain age, you are seen by some as a second-class citizen and almost cast off as if you were an animal. But as the movie explains, becoming an animal isn't the end of things. You can get a second chance as an animal to find another animal similar to you and live happily ever after. Or you can get crushed and destroyed by society. And isn't it true that sometimes married people get put on a pedestal, like married people are higher class citizens? Isn't it true that single people, especially older single people or divorced people, are sometimes seen as second class citizens who just can't figure things out? And isn't true that often we do things to try to help these single people that really just make things a whole heck of a lot worse? I don't think this movie has an agenda or is trying to make a statement of sorts. But it is a pretty accurate reflection on our dating society as a whole.
There's a lot that I could say about this movie. I could dive into each twist and turn or section of this bizarre film and compare it to an aspect of our current dating society. But I'm not going to do that. First reason is because I don't want to spoil this movie for you. I want you to go into this bizarre film and be taken on the same weird, unexpected journey that I went on. As far as the premise I've described to you and the points I dove into in this review, I think I really only described like 10 percent of the film. The movie is weird. But isn't our dating culture weird? The tone and feel is uncomfortable, especially with the score. But isn't dating itself uncomfortable? That's the gist of this. This is the type of movie where every scene could be dissected and analyzed to the extreme. And I think once this is done, the movie will most likely get better and better the more you think about it. The other reason why I'm not going to analyze this movie that deeply is because I need more time. I need a few weeks or months to think about this. Then I want to go see this movie again at least once more after having let it digest. As far as a grade goes, that's tricky. As of right now, I'm thinking that a 9/10 is an appropriate score. But I'm throwing an asterisk on that. By the end of the year, this could ending up being my favorite movie. Or it could miss my top 10 list altogether. We'll see.