The Lobster (2015) has satire, a confusing ending, and metaphors – GOOD STUFF
The Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos has given us a droll satire criticizing relationships and the black and white world in which we live. It’s extremely smart and very funny. It’s not funny in a Adam Sandler type way, because this movie doesn’t stoop to that level. It has a grand concept and smart social commentary to criticize society itself.
I don’t think this movie hides it’s commentary very well, and it’s a straightforward story, despite some reviewers complaining about the vague message. I will admit that the movie leaves a lot of the analysis up to the viewer, maybe in the same way Stanley Kubrick presented metaphors and allegories in his movies. However, for those who had “no idea” what was going on, I can clue you in.
This movie satirizes relationships, society and human nature. It’s only normal for us to put things in certain categories, and I can see that the director finds this aspect of society really funny. Society is not really supposed to be complex; it’s black and white and third options are shunned or heavily criticized. We have a two party system in the USA–you’re either democrat or republican, or you’re wasting your vote. You’re heterosexual or homosexual as the movie explains in one example, and a third option isn’t accepted. There are other examples where the movie uses a black and white nature to illustrate the need for some grey in your black and white world, where everything doesn’t have to fit into a neat little box, with strict rules and regulations to complement it.
Colin Farrell plays the everyman hero of the story, Rachel Weisz plays his love interest, and Léa Seydoux is part of the supporting cast. There is no real individuality, because the movie seems to argue that everyone’s goal should be to be in a relationship and gain acceptance. Seydoux gives a great performance as the leader of the resistance movement, which itself has stupid rules and regulations. It seems in this strange society, even on the outside there are things driving acceptance and inclusion.
Knowing this, the movie makes fun of society’s mores. Real relationships in the movie are based on stupid black and white attributes, like if both people are shortsighted or not. If one or the other doesn’t have something in common, then the relationship is not accepted. Relationships are really raked over the fire in this movie. Most of the characters can’t or don’t “love” in the classical sense, and the dialogue is purposefully stilted and boring. Society says you need a “match” or a person to “love” in order to be happy. The movie makes fun of this big time.
There are other criticisms of society. Relationships are easier for young people than older people for example, and the movie uses an older woman to show how difficult it is for older people. This fact just devolves into a desperateness, to where the woman just wants to be with someone or she’s going to kill herself. Even the search for relationships is criticized, as most of the characters have to shape themselves to “match up” with someone else. Many of the characters lie and try to fool one another, but they’re a “match” despite these stupid lies. It’s probably the most direct critique of relationships. After all, no one wants to be alone, so a little lie isn’t so bad, right? The relationship “process” is so artificial that no one in the movie even has names. The only one who has a name is Colin Farrell, who plays David, but he’s the epitome of boring. He’s a generic white male. He’s the everyman. He has a gut and a stupid middle-class haircut and dumb sweaters. Yawn.
The movie poses questions about the purpose of relationships. Are they so we don’t feel alone? Why do we have to marry another person? Is it in our nature to and marry and have children and decorate our stupid little kitchen? Why? The movie seems to indicate that genuine relationships are rare and it’s human emotion that makes them work. A lot of these questions are never answered, and the movie continues asking questions, like a stupid Stanley Kubrick movie on rerun.
Overall, this is a good movie. The Lobster poses questions and throws in a lot of social commentary to make you think. This is especially true of the ending, which is a head-scratcher. It’s the ultimate message of the movie. What do you do when there are changes in a relationship? Do you shape yourself and change too? Do you go on living with someone even though you have nothing in common? Or do you love another person no matter how you or your partner change? As you can guess, the movie never answers these questions, instead fading to black. It’s up to you to decide.