By Loukia Kitazou (Guildford, Surrey, UK)

 

Extraordinary yet Ordinary

While, The Lobster distances the audience through its uncompromising narrative, plain dialogue and magnificent cinematography, it ultimately sings the harsh truthfulness regarding relationships in society which keeps the audience from turning away from it.

Rules, pressure, bloody deaths as well as love, obstacles and freedom meet in a dystopian world. The dissonant music pinches you, refreshes your senses; this film gets under your skin. It gives you the role of the witness when viewing the horrifying honesty with which the consequences of being single or in a relationship are carried out. Watching this film was a curiously relatable experience.

Living in a world where the characters are torn to choose between living in the woods and remaining single, or finding a compatible partner and thus allowed to return to the city underlines the binary choice a person has in a society. Both The Loners as well as The Hotel provide certain rules and inscriptions that surrounds the characters once they’ve made a decision to belong to one of the two groups. This goes to show that the society is governed by an illusion of freedom.

The limping man lies in order to find himself a partner, which brings to mind how in reality we might try to find partners with similar characteristics to us so that to find our perfect match. Up to what point of the relationship though do we stop performing our role? When did we stop caring about being truly happy and when did we decide that we should settle for something that isn’t true? These are some questions that The Lobster raises with the purpose to awaken people. Like the non-diegetic sound of the Greek song, ‘Apo mesa pethamenos’ proposes, ‘people are dead in the inside and alive on the outside’. Is this what our society has come to?

David breaks away from this spiral circle of such emptiness when he finds himself in the woods with The Loners. This is when he experiences a strong connection with a woman from the group. Having the same characteristic of being short sighted, they believe that they have found their one true love. The ending will disentangle any notions that their love is solely based on the system of The Hotel where couples should share one similar characteristic in order to be in a relationship. David’s decision operates in a way to show that sacrifice goes beyond the stereotypical conventions of being in a relationship and of being in love. It is what makes you human.

Lanthimos and Filippou’s cliffhanging screenplay suggests that the audience are entitled to their own belief, on whether David remained true to his decision. What Lanthimos’ mesmerising piece of romantic tragicomedy illustrates is that as people we are given a choice. The hardest part however is not making that choice but going through with it.

Humour suits Lanthimos’s films. As seen in this film as well as in the Oscar nominated, Dogtooth, his sense of tragedy has undertones of dark humour which is a reverberating ingredient to the success of his films.

What animal would you want to be, if you were unsuccessful in finding a partner within 45 days?

Certainly not a lobster?

Rating: 4/5

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