‘The Lobster’ in Review

Heartbreaking tale follows one man’s journey for love in order to risk society’s deadly consequences

More stories from Nicole Bellford



“The Lobster,” an Oscar nominated film, follows the story of protagonist David as he must find love or risk being transformed into an animal by a harsh government.

In a dystopian society where single individuals are given a mere 45 days to find love at a remote, government-owned hotel or endure the consequences of being transformed into an animal of their choosing for the remainder of their lives, it is essentially vital to have a plan.

Though in the case of the protagonist David (Colin Farrell) in the Oscar nominated film, “The Lobster,” having a plan never crossed his mind. That is, until his wife announced she didn’t love him any longer and he was forced into the hotel’s realm of desperate singles, fighting not only for love, but the right to remain human.

The film kicks off with David being heartlessly removed from his wife’s home and taken to the hotel along with his companion, a dog who the film revealed is his brother. There, he is promptly provided with a room, new clothes and toiletries, and left to find his “soulmate” in a matter of six weeks. Never mind David’s wife ended their 12-year partnership just hours before and that he has just been stripped of the life he has always known.

Over the course of David’s first two weeks at the hotel, he makes two male companionships with John (Ben Whishaw), a man with a limp who lost his his wife days before, and Robert (John C. Reilly), a man with a social disability and a lisp. In the realm of finding a suitable woman, however, David is not so lucky.

As David and his friends’ time remaining at the hotel dwindles, he reveals if he must become an animal, he will become a lobster. He justifies his choice by explaining lobsters can live for an impressively long time and remain fertile far longer than most animals. Robert claims he would choose to be a parrott. John mocks their decisions for choosing “weak” animals and criticizes them for giving up before their time has ended.

While David initially judges John’s attitude, he quickly comes to realize only the desperate survive in the hotel and he must do whatever it takes to remain human, even if it means lying for love. Yet, as the turmoil of his actions unfolds, David struggles to follow the laws of the land and exiles himself to the loner rebels, a group of single individuals in the woods who escaped animal transformation.

Just as David feels he has finally found his place after a past of heartbreak and chaos, he fails to stay true to the only rule among the rebels: never fall in love. Now, he must fight for the one thing he never expected to have in the first place.

While the film carries plenty of action and keeps the plot moving with quick transitions between scenes, the fast-paced sequencing ended up leaving me lost and confused much of the time. As soon as I was able to figure out what was going on, the plot was transitioning once again and I had to start all over.

Despite the film’s uneasy speed, there were several qualities that kept me captivated and pleased with the overall result.

The film was narrated by a woman’s voice throughout, leaving the audience wondering about her relationship to David’s story and adding a sense of mystery. The audience is provided not only with David’s thoughts and emotions, but also his lover’s, which adds a strong, interesting dimension to the plot as a whole.

Lastly, the orchestrated moments of suspense added an element of foreshadowing that danger or problems lay ahead for David. Any time a moment of panic or transition occurred, a violent violin played in the background, essentially giving the audience a hint of struggles ahead. Such a soundtrack kept me on my feet, curious as to what David would have to deal with next.

Overall, “The Lobster” is a captivatingly raw film that constantly keeps the audience wondering whether or not David will sink or swim in the depths of true love.

The film will be playing in the Woodland Theater of the Davies Center, March 3-5.