The Lobster

Last Thursday I went to see “The Lobster”.

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When I first saw the preview for the movie back in the spring I thought it looked a little too weird for me. However, as the summer went on my interest began to build. It became one of those movies that I knew I needed to see in the theater because if I didn’t I would probably never see it.

I am so glad that I saw it. It was very original, very weird, very European and very good.

If you aren’t familiar with the premise the film is set in a dystopian word where people are required to go to a hotel if their spouse leaves them or dies. It is no ordinary hotel. The guests have a limited number of days at the hotel to fall in love with a new mate or be turned in to the animal of their choosing, hence the title of “The Lobster” since that is the animal the lead character of David (Colin Farrell) has chosen to be turned into if he doesn’t fall in love.

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The premise of the movie is very original. It is the prefect anecdote for the summer movie season that is full of sequels and reboots.  What I liked about the premise is that it takes our societal need for people to be in a romantic relationship to the extreme. I have a friend who once said she’d be more accepted in society if she lied and said she was divorced rather than she had never been married at all. It was a very sad and true statement. The film makes us think of why we have such a need to see other people in a relationship. There are many people at the hotel in the film who don’t seem to have any real interest in falling in love; they just don’t want to be turned into an animal. The film also explores the other end of the spectrum in a group of people who are rebels and chose to live without any kind of romantic or physical relationship in their lives. The rules of the rebel group are just as extreme, there are severe physical consequences for people who do fall in love or even have sex with another person. The fact that there is no middle ground really speaks to human nature. Don’t we often refuse to see shades of gray as a species?

The film is certainly quite strange. The sense of humor is quite dark and offbeat. There is no doubt it isn’t for everyone.

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There are many things that make the film European. It is very much about the journey and not the destination. And the ending is very open ended. It can be whatever you want it to be and what you want it to be is probably very much based on what kind of person you are and what your view of the world is.

The performances are all good. The film lives and dies on Colin Farrell’s performance and it is an excellent one.

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It’s funny, after his flame burned bright and then out in the 2000’s he’s returned in this decade as an actor and not a movie star. This path seems to be the right one for him. I look forward to see what kind of interesting roles he picks now that he’s in his forties (when did that happen?).

John C. Reilly has done so many crappy comedies in recent years it’s easy to forget he’s an Oscar nominee and quite a good actor when he wants to be. His role here is small but he does a good job with it. Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz is also very good in her role.

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Weisz gives the film a heart that keeps it from being too clinical.

The film has almost disappeared from theaters but it is definitely worth seeing, just be prepared for a very European film with a very non-American sensibility and ending.

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Here is a description:

Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.

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