Is The Lobster really about getting turned into an animal, or does the story have another point?
I first stumbled upon The Lobster late one night nearly three years ago. My thought was to watch a few minutes to begin my “winding down” process for the evening, so I could quickly fall asleep. What I did not expect was being completely enthralled by the absurdity of the characters and story.
David’s (Colin Farrell) wife has run away to the arms of another man, and this leaves David forty-five days to find a suitable mate until he gets turned into an animal of his choice. Yes, you read that correctly. He has chosen a lobster, naturally. See, a lobster remains fertile its entire life and can live up to one hundred years. Why wouldn’t one want to be turned into a lobster? What David goes through is pure psychological and physical torture as he, along with many others, are constantly reminded that two is always better than one.
After failing to find a suitable mate, which he should certainly get credit for trying, he manages to escape the hotel where he has lived the last month and a half, and finds himself living among “loners.” You would think that David has found an oasis of common sense, but alas, he has not. As a loner, you may communicate with another, but any whiff of flirtation or physical affection is met with swift punishment. Also, each loner must dig his own grave so as not to inconvenience the other loners when they must bury one of their own.
It is among the loners that David meets his soulmate, known in the credits as the Short-Sighted Woman (Rachel Weisz). See, David is short-sighted too, which makes them an excellent match. For a brief time, David has found true happiness with the woman, but it is rudely interrupted by the leader of the loners, who blinds the Short-Sighted Woman, rendering the couple incompatible. As the story comes to a close, we find David holding a steak knife up to his right eye, as he is determined to be compatible once again with his soulmate.
My first viewing of The Lobster had me more focused on the absurdities that I briefly outlined, but the second and even third viewings had me more focused on all of the movie’s characters. To explain, I mean that I was more focused on society as a whole. Each person was so concerned by societal pressure to find another with a common trait or characteristic, that they went to great lengths in order to accomplish their goal. To us, it is insane the lengths that the characters took to find a suitable mate, but to them, it was normal.
The ending was truly bittersweet in that David had finally found a mate that he loved deeply. He didn’t love her because she was short-sided, he just loved her. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize this truth and thought that the only way they could be together in the end was to be blind himself.
If you haven’t seen The Lobster, you are missing out on one of the more “unique” films that I’ve come across recently.