“The Lobster” is an absurdist satire, which immediately
disqualifies it for the average moviegoer who “just wants to be
premise is certainly unique: a
world where if you suddenly find yourself single, even if only
because your wife just decided to leave you, then the authorities
will round you up immediately and deposit you at the mysterious
HOTEL, where you have exactly 45 days to find true love, or you will
be turned into the animal of your choice.
David (Colin Ferrell) has selected a lobster, because of the
promise of long life in splended isolation.
Which is exactly what the current society will not allow.
So people who find themselves on HOTEL's countdown look for
impossibly perfect match-ups; someone with nosebleeds must find
someone else with the same condition (and beware of faking it;
that can get you sent to the “Transformation Room”
early). David, a quiet,
introspective, loner by nature, finds the whole thing so oppressive
that even discovering a fellow cynic doesn't result in a perfect
“match,” because he isn't uncaring enough, and she tattles on
him. So he escapes to
the woods, where he discovers a group of LONERS equally oppressive
in their “no-contact” rules.
He finds himself attracted to another near-sighted person,
Rachel Weisz, but when they attempt to secretly court and flirt, she
is severely punished for daring to allow her affection to show, and
poor David must then decide if he's going to join her disfugrement
ouf of sheer solidarity—which, of course, reduces the end to sheer
absurdity (reductio ad absurdum).
Director Yorgos Lanthimos indeed spins us a cautionary tale
about a world both too morally restrictive and too scathingly
casual, about both sexuality and human dignity.
Of course the trade-off between protecting societel mores and
preserving personal freedom is always a balance.
Perhaps the real absurdity is the confidence of any
well-meaning social institution, such as the church, to both invite
cordial fellowship and proscribe acceptable behavior, which might be
impossibly optimistic--- like a school system attempting
universally-accepted educational standards.
But those of us who have not yet despaired about the
potential good in humanity perhaps needs the reminder that there are
no standards acceptable, or applicable, to all.
OK, granted, just as long as the alternative isn't “no
standards for anyone,” which seems to be the moral of this
farcical satire. That
would be a nightmare world even more chaotic and depressing than
that envisioned in “The Lobster.”