(Die folgende Review ist auf Englisch verfasst, da ich Teil eines englischsprachigen Movie Clubs bist, und damit die anderen Teilnehmer:innen meine Gedanken verstehen können, verfasse ich diese auf Englisch. Es finden sich, wie immer, ein paar meiner anderen Gedanken unter dem „weiterlesen“-Knopf.)
I saw The Lobster for the second time, this time alone. Last time, I watched it with my then-roomie and I had asked her for something uplifting. The Lobster didn‘t do it for me, although I liked it because of it‘s social critique. That‘s why I chose it for Movie Club.
The Lobster is a film about David (I realized I never heard his name in the movie and also none of the other names and wikipedia tells me most of the characters don‘t even have names (I didn‘t verify on imdb), so this is an interesting feature). He checks into a hotel after his partner leaves him for another man with glasses. During his stay in the hotel, David has 45 days time to find a new partner, otherwise he will be turned into an animal of his choice (in David’s case a lobster). David is accompanied by a dog, his brother who didn‘t „make it“ out of the hotel.
The movie introduces three settings: the hotel, the woods and the city. Only couples are allowed to live in the city, so if David manages to find a partner, he will be allowed to go back to the city, and supposedly will also resume his work as an architect again. (We don‘t know anything about how the work system functions. It‘s fascinating though that people will leave their jobs for a certain period of time to find a new partner. Work seems to be less important than being partnered here.) The partnering system has different stages, and during the hotel stay, unpartnered and partnered people are not allowed to interact with each other. Once you find a suitable partner, both will be moved to a double room for two weeks and after that to a yacht. If problems occur, couples will be assigned children. (Has anyone ever wondered where these children come from? Who volunteers their kids for this? Do couples even have their own kids anymore?) The hotel is a very strict environment, as an unpartnered person, you are only allowed to pursue sports that are for single people. No sports that require a partner. The partnering is based on superficial and random characteristics, like a recurring nose bleed or being short-sighted or a bright smile.
After trying to fool a woman into believing he shared similarities with her, David has to leave the hotel and goes into the woods where he meets the loners. They are people who live outside of regular society by themselves in the woods and who discourage partnering. People should be alone. If someone of the community violates these rules, they are to be punished. The hotel guests actually have to run around in the woods (once a day?) to hunt the loners who will then be turned into animals. So David finds himself on the other side now.
The three presented settings are very distinct and show certain parts of society. I thought this was very well done, even the small glimpses into city life that we‘re given. The hotel and the woods both have their cruel rules that support the current state of society that resolves around couples. A funny thing to look out for in the woods: animals that do not belong there.
The film is not really funny, I would classify it as a parody on our (Western) society. It raises interesting questions about how we deal with love relationships, and even friendships as all the relationships formed in the movie seem superficial and not very intimate. So the movie asks us about love, sex, sexuality, relationships, honesty, loneliness. I think it succeeds in holding up a mirror on how society is structured today.
I liked it even more than the first time, probably because I was in a better state to appreciate the cleverness. However, it is sometimes painful to watch, a) because there‘s some gore and b) because it is just so awkward lots of times. I cringed every time people asked each other about their defining characteristics to figure out if they were compatible. It‘s very well done because this logic even stretches into the woods, showing that even the people who dislike the structure of society are in its grasps and orient themselves along the same lines.
To conclude: It is a very clever film, not easy to watch, and requires some willingness to engage with and think about the questions the film asks. As a parody, it works really well and it has some really good actors.
Read the other‘s reviews: