NYFF Film Review: The Lobster (★★★★)


lobsterIt took some time to let Yorgos Lanthimos‘ new film “The Lobster” settle into my mind.  On the surface is a dark comedy, full of rich images, and staggering performances from its principal cast.  Deeper lays one of the most original and heart wrenching stories on modern relationships, likely the best seen in film since Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

“The Lobster” tells the story of a dystopian near future, where single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.  At the center is David (played by Colin Farrell), who enters the Hotel with his brother, who’s been turned into a dog, and begins a domino effect that will make him both an outcast and a fugitive.

Beginning with a hilarious and smart script by Lanthimos and co-writer Efthymis Filippou, “The Lobster” gets some of the year’s biggest laughs.  The two create a symphony of truth about our society’s perception of relationships and love.  When David first enters the hotel, you can see the initial despair and fight against the system.  He believes in the idea of love but isn’t particularly fond of being under its spell once again.  Its simply life and death but when the story makes him an outcast, where love is forbidden, you see his hopeless romantic self become drawn to his “Short Sighted Woman.” (played by Rachel Weisz)  The evolution of David’s outlook on his current situation is authentic and real, as he shows the center of his heartache in only intermittent spurts.  You can thank all that to the powerhouse performance by Colin Farrell, who delivers his best and most audacious film role to date.

“The Lobster” isn’t just about its script and lead performer.  It also assembles one of the year’s best cast ensembles.  Rachel Weisz is a sensation, giving her best work since her Oscar-winning role in “The Constant Gardener.”  As the “Lisping Man,” its refreshing to see John C. Reilly dig deep into a role like this, one of which we haven’t seen from him in nearly a decade.  As the “Limping Man,” Ben Whishaw continues to build an arsenal of titanic-like performances, all of which solidifies him as one of the best kept secrets working today.  More roles for him please.  As the “Loner Leader,” Léa Seydoux‘s villainous and vile demeanor is a fantastical addition, adding a needed depth and danger to the film and role.  Olivia Colman‘s Hotel Manager is a bonus treat, as she effortlessly brings chuckles and fear to her mystery woman.

lobster_image_farrell_weiszCinematographer Thimios Bakatakis finds his stride and vision early on, capturing an aesthetic that is both stylized and advantageous.  The visual contrast is dazzling and particularly noteworthy but what’s lurking between each and every frame is especially dynamic and robust.  One of the year’s very best. Upon first viewing, Yorgos Mavropsaridis‘ editing work can seem bloated but over 24 hours later, it’s a taut and vivaciously engaging piece, cut with a resemblance of Jeff Buchanan and Eric Zumbrunnen’s snubbed work on Spike Jonze’s “Her.”  The score is insanely haunting and very appropriate for its dark natured comic look at life.

It took some time to digest but “The Lobster” feels full of life and is a soulful opus on love.  Quirky and clever, its black comic tones shouldn’t distract from its core narrative and mission; to engage the parimeters and infatuation of devotion.  Just a dream.

The Lobster” will be distributed by Alchemy Entertainment and is due out sometime this year.


  • L227

    Any oscar chances here?

    • Original Screenplay but it SHOULD be in contention for so much more. I’d make a campaign for the film, direction, Farrell, Weisz, script, and cinematography.

  • Jamie Teller

    One of my most anticipated films of the year. I’m so glad Lanthimos got to make it.

    • We need more filmmakers like him

      • Jamie Teller

        That, and we need to give the filmmakers like him more opportunities to work with such good casts and, I would assume, sufficient budgets.

  • Josh Parham

    Great to hear your rave about this one. Really looking forward to checking it out.

  • JJ

    My favourite of the year so far. Such a great film. Probably too weird for oscars but that’s fine. Let them award all the bland period pieces. I haven’t seen Carol yet, though. Maybe that is less bland period piece.

    • “The Lobster” gets the reaction of love it or hate it, which is a good place to be when it comes to Academy members. We just need to know if its coming out this year or not.

  • Eli Sickel

    In retrospect I’ve found Dogtooth more effective so I’m excited to catch this one in theaters. Also refreshing seeing Colin Farrell in anything other than True Detective.