David’s (Colin Ferrell) wife has fallen out of love with him, so he goes to a hotel to meet a new partner. If he can’t meet a partner in 45 days, he will be transformed into an animal, and sent away. David chooses to be a lobster. David meets other men who are desperately trying to meet women, like the Lisping Man (John C Reilly) and the Limping Man, (Ben Wishaw) who meet women with varying degrees of success. David meets a woman called The Biscuit Woman (Ashley Jenson) who will do anything to please him, but he’s simply not interested. Every evening, the guests in the hotel are invited to go into the wilderness and hunt The Loners, a group of people who live in the wilds alone with no partners. If the guests tranquilize a loner with their dart gun they are given an extra day to stay at the hotel and find a partner. David is no good at hunting, but realizes time is flying and he must find a woman quickly. He inexplicably chooses the Heartless Woman, (Angeliki Papoulia) who after a short time, kills David’s dog, Bob.(Ryac,Jaro) David cannot live with this woman one second longer, but where can he go in a society as rigid as this one, and will he ever find true love?
It’s anybody’s guess what the lobster is about but it seems to be about finding love in a repressive society, and being a non-conformist in a society that stresses conformity above all. Because all the characters are repressed, love is expressed in the most mundane, pedantic, unromantic way, that even love, the most joyous of all emotions loses all its magic. The hotel guests seem like those poor people on those singles cruises, desperate to find love in the worst way, and they do find it in the worst way. There were a lot of good ideas in this film and some humor, but the film is presented in such a hyper dramatic avant-garde way, that it soon becomes as joyless as its characters. More humor would have definitely made this film more enjoyable, and less of an endurance test. The ending is so abrupt, and ambiguous that the viewer is left to decide how the movie should end.
Colin Ferrell delivers his lines in a droll, deadpan way, but it wears thin after a while, and soon the viewer is pleading for just a hint of emotion, anything to show he’s alive, and he gained a lot of weight, so he looks like a middle aged loser with nothing left to lose. Rachel Weisz similarly delivers her lines with the joy of somebody reading a phone book, and is saddled with reading some sophomoric voice-over narration, surely she can do better this this role. John C. Reilly is wasted here as a simpering wimp with a lisp.
The director apparently thinks he’s Fellini reborn, but he isn’t. When the first shot is a shot of a woman shooting a donkey, the viewer knows he’s in for two hours of arthouse hell, and there are many strange scenes here. Tranquilized people stacked like cordwood after being shot with dart guns, people voguing in the woods, the strangeness doesn’t end. The music especially makes this movie much darker than it should be, even what should be the joyful moments in this film are punctuated by foreboding, ominous classical strings. The actors deliver their lines just as the director wants them to, and the pacing is uneven. The film is much too long at nearly 2 hours, this premise could have been neatly wrapped up in an hour and a half. The Lobster won three awards at Cannes.
The Lobster: Left me crabby.