The Lobster

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Recommended
May 12-Aug 12
 

Influenced by an age where so much modern courtship takes place through one’s smartphone comes this drama starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz. In the film’s somewhat dystopian universe, hapless singletons are forced to attend a month-long dating bootcamp at a luxury hotel in order to find a partner. Individuals who fail to pair off before the event ends get transformed into an animal of their choice and released into the wild. During the retreat, everyone’s chances of pairing off are equalised by pre-set outfits and accommodation in an identical class of suites. The only way to extend one’s stay in this dating arena is to shoot rebel loners during regular hunting sessions.

Before you even start trying to wrap your head around this strange universe, you come to the realisation that you don’t need to – we’re already living it. Once that clicks, the film is hilariously funny and insightful with its thinly veiled metaphorical parallels to contemporary dating.

Halfway through the plot sags and what initially seemed a solid allegory starts to fail, the universe collapsing in on itself with extreme behaviour. When the ruthless leader of the rebel loners, Léa Seydoux, blinds Weisz for unknown reasons, it leaves one wondering whether this is the setting’s norm or an atrocity.
This first English language film by Yorgos Lanthimos, the fresh face of the so-called Greek ‘weird wave’, definitely features the director’s signature quirks – deadpan dialogue, jerky physicality and socially awkward interactions. But it’s not until the final third that it becomes apparent that the change in tone halfway through the film was the turn into an overly long home stretch. One which does at least manage to leave you asking whether true love even exists. Lisa Cam

Dir Yorgos Lanthimos 178 mins, Opens Thu May 12

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