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From the Past

Films on the to-do list

  • Armageddon Time
  • Black Widow
  • Chimes at Midnight
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  • Last Christmas
  • Remember Sunday
  • Shazam! 2
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Spy Guys

The Lobster (2015)

Film review: The Lobster (2015), directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

tl;dr: WTF?

Sooooo imagine a world where couples are the norm. Not just the norm, the actual law. You have to have a partner and if you don’t, you go to a hotel where you have 30 days to find someone – and then if you don’t, you get turned into an animal of your choice. When David’s (Colin Farrell) partner decides to ditch him and hook up with someone else he goes to the hotel along with his dog – a.k.a. his brother who failed to find a partner.

David is asked about his sexual preferences, which animal he would like to be turned into (a lobster because reasons, hence the title), and gets to meet the other inmates/hotel guests. Soon he befriends a lisping man (John C Reilly) and a limping man (Ben Whishaw) and find out that you can get extra days added on to those 30 days when you partake in a bizarre hunt in the woods and catch the most number of people. One seemingly heartless woman (Angeliki Papoulia) is particularly good at this.

Well, if the choice is between her and an overly talkative – and rather desperate – woman (Ashley Jensen) wanting to invite you over for biscuits – or becoming a lobster – what do you do? What choices do you really have?

Also starring Ariane Labed as the Maid, Olivia Colman as the Hotel Manager, Rachel Weisz as the short-sighted woman, and Léa Seydoux and Michael Smiley as a couple of loners.

Aside from everyone acting very deadpan and matter-of-fact, which probably just helps to add with the whole weirdness vibe, it’s an interesting film. Not one I’m in a hurry to re-watch, because WHAT?! The premise of twosomeness-or-get-turned-into-an-animal is odd to say the least, and there’s no real explanation given as to why this is happening. That twosomeness is desired is explained in what appears to be daily brainwashing sessions, but not how society came to be that way. It’s one of those “don’t think about it, just go with it” kind of things.

As an opposite of what we’re used to, where couplehood is optional (albeit often expected) and dating is a beast of its own, The Lobster works as an interesting contrast. Here you have people who have to find someone to hook up with or face some rather bizarre consequences. No “you can come back and try again in six months”, but “find someone or become a parrot/dog/lobster/salmon/capybara in 30 days and see how that will work out for you”. The process itself isn’t explained, it’s just something that happens in a locked room and it sounds unpleasant. (Although, becoming an animal doesn’t sound bad to me, it sounds pretty awesome.)

The only character with an actual name is David. David, who is a very average guy, with a very average moustache and who looks like your stereotypical accountant or something. “Dad bods” are apparently in fashion these days, and Colin Farrell is definitely rocking the one he’s got in this film. Your mileage may vary.

Whether dressed or undressed the actors seemed to have had a fun time making the film, even if it’s a headscratcher. It has some funny moments in it, but if dark comedy isn’t your cup of tea this is not one for you. This is not a film for most people to be fair, because it’s so very weird and incredibly absurd. Still, it was kind of engaging to watch, if only for the constant look of complete “WTF?” on your own face.

Ah, the ending is intentionally left vague, by the way. It’s one of those “we’re not telling you what actually happened, so what do you think happened?” That was a little bit annoying, but fair play to them. I don’t know what I think happened. I went on the IMDb message boards to try and find out if I had missed something or what actually happened only to find out that nah, you decide the ending for yourself.


Oh well.

Bizarre as hell, but not actually a bad thing – if you can stomach the weirdness. And the horrifying scene in the bathroom.

3.7 out of 5 secret hand signals.

(I’d choose to become a cat, obvs. Like the well-fed one currently sleeping on a warm patch on the carpet between the radiator and my bed just now. That’s a pretty comfy life right there.)


An easily distracted and over-excited introvert who never learns to go to bed at a reasonable time. Enjoys traveling (when there's not a plague on), and taking photos of European architecture. Cares for cats, good coffee and Boardwalk Empire. A child of her time, she did media studies in school and still can't decide what she wants to be when she grows up.

5 thoughts on “The Lobster (2015)

  1. I have never heard of this film, but the cast sounds amazing. I must say I would not like to be a lobster given their usual fate in the culinary world…

    1. It’s up for a Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars this year, apparently. 🙂

      I agree with you about being a lobster. Ending up as someone’s expensive dinner sounds a bit … grim. David’s reasoning is this: “Because lobsters live for over one hundred years, are blue-blooded like aristocrats, and stay fertile all their lives. I also like the sea very much.”

  2. This movie is on Amazon Prime in the states, so I have been wondering if I should take the time to watch it. I like Colin Farrell, but all of the reviews have been similar to yours mentioning tons of weirdness. Maybe I’ll watch it if I run out of other things on Prime or Netflix. 🙂

    1. Sounds like a plan. It’s a very peculiar film, but then that’s also why I couldn’t stop watching. Had to find out how that weirdness could possibly end. (Colin Farrell might have worked as an added incentive. ?)

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