The Lobster (2015): Our Misunderstanding of Love
In a strange yet astonishing new piece of cinema composed entirely of almost emotionless-like dialogue, social anxiety, and what is possibly the most artistic poster of our time, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster feeds us just that while leading us to subliminally question how we mishandle the idea of love, blinded by our desperation for it and feeling as though we need it to survive while it simply is much more than that. The film follows through the life of David, a depressed man recently dumped by his wife as he is forced to spend his following days within a hotel in a In a dystopian society where single people must find a partner within 45 days or they’d be transformed into an animal of their choice.
This black-hearted direct dramatic comedy begins its unique structure before the very opening scene when you notice that Lanthimos intentionally only named one character, David, and left the remaining cast with the title of the nature of the character in which they play, such as “Limping Man," “Loner Leader," and “Donkey Shooter." While that initially feels like a way to give the film a misdirected personality, it may in fact actually be a technique to draw more attention on the nature of the characters and the type of society they’re accustomed to.
Nonetheless, what’s not necessarily direct in this straight-forward satire is the type of message it delivers from beginning to end. The message that speaks volumes on how we treat love more like an essential tool to navigate life to survive rather than a spiritual feeling to live. In the film, loving someone and having a partner has its rules; you must have something in common to prove your love, thus spared from the lengths of being turned into an animal, a testament to how we often view love in modern day. However, in reality, true organic love does not abide by rules, nor does it require common traits from two human beings to exist between them. So, what happens when one begins to genuinely fall in love with another all while lacking that “common trait” or not abiding to any of its manufactured rules? Would society forbid you to love? Will it let love take its course? The Lobster holds the answers to those questions in which we seek.