Films of the Year: ‘The Lobster’

The final of my longform articles on the films of the year, again in no particular order as all three were favourites in different ways.

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This was the only film from London Film Festival that I had any inclination to watch, though not at the film festival itself. No, I would happily wait until it was on wider release and I could watch it cheaper.

Wider release didn’t really come. I googled regularly, but even in central London it was hard to find. One day I walked past The Barbican and it said “now showing: The Lobster”. For three days only at The Barbican, the most indie of independent cinemas. It was sold out, but I went, on the advice of the man on the phone, to see if there were any returns. Thankfully there were. I even got a great seat. Middle and centre. Cinema 2 at The Barbican is one of the most comfortable cinemas I have been to. Cinema 1 is among the least comfortable.

I went alone. This is a great film to watch alone, or, to put it another way, a bad film to watch on a date. There was a couple in front of me. They kissed. They were watching it wrong.

The premise goes that in the world of The Lobsterif you are single, you have 45 days to find a suitable partner otherwise you will be turned into the animal of your choice. In the case of Colin Farrell’s character, it will be a lobster – hey, that’s the title of the film!

The film opens with a short scene of a woman shooting a horse. From this point, I knew that I would enjoy it immensely.

The first half (maybe two thirds?) takes place in a hotel where singles have to try and find their mates. A guy forces himself to have nosebleeds so that he can match with a girl who has nosebleeds. When they go to a yacht, the purgatory between the hotel and the safety of land, they are given a child – just like nature’s way of papering over the cracks of a relationship.

John C. Reilly doesn’t have much luck.

Neither does poor, hapless Ashley Jensen.

Or the woman with no heart, who had some of my favourite scenes in the film. The drowning scene. The suicide scene. Not the dog scene. She got her’s.

This part of the film is narrated by Rachel Weisz. As is the first part in the woods. I spent a long time wondering if she would ever feature. She does! She doesn’t have much luck.

I enjoyed her narration, and the odd rhythms that everyone spoke in. And how it was shot. And cut together. It is dark and dry and exactly my sense of humour. I found it hysterical. The woman next to me was fidgety; I expect that she did not find it as funny and particularly didn’t find it funny that I found it so funny.

If I had a complaint, I would say that the final quarter may be overlong, but I had such a good time during the first three quarters that my good will carried over.

The ending shot is hard to watch.

Though I suppose that this can be said about most of it.

I wouldn’t recommend this to many people, but apparently quite a lot of people have been recommending it. It is odd. It is wonderful. It makes me glad that I am single.

Were I fit enough, it is a film that makes me want to run for miles. As it was, I ran/power walked the whole three miles home the fastest I have ever managed on foot. I felt great. I felt energised. I felt completely (personally) sold on the cinema as an event, a place where films are put on a pedestal above the smaller screens (alas, this realisation has come quite late in life). Here is a film that made me fall deeper in love with film, writing and, importantly, myself.

An odd film for an odd person.

 

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