THE LOBSTER — Review by Susan Granger

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Without doubt, this is one of the most bizarre films I’ve ever seen! Set in the near future in an alternate universe, it’s an existential allegory about the determination within every culture to pair people off. Whether heterosexual or homosexual, conforming means being part of a couple. When his wife leaves him for another man, David (Colin Farrell) has only 45 days to find another partner or face ‘Transformation’ into the animal of his choice. Most people want to be a dog, which is why there are so many of them. But David chooses to be re-embodied as a lobster.

To facilitate finding a prospective mate, David checks into a spa-like Hotel, where the Manager (Olivia Coleman) sternly explains the regimented schedule required of him and other newcomers – there’s one who lisps (John C. Reilly), another who limps (Ben Whishaw), a woman prone to nosebleeds (Jessica Barden) and one who is heartless (Aggeliki Papoulia).

While a maid facilitates sexual arousal, masturbation is forbidden. Not surprisingly, the guests grow increasingly desperate under the pressure to find a compatible companion. When a match is made, there’s a party and ‘honeymoon’ of sorts. If couples subsequently disagree, children are pressed upon them.

“It usually helps,” declares the Manager.

With his crustacean reincarnation looming, David flees into the forest, joining ‘The Loners,’ a resistance group. Their militant leader (Lea Seydoux) enforces her own set of Kafkaesque rules, forbidding any relationships.

Then David meets his real soulmate (Rachel Weisz) – but is it too late?

Greek writer/director Yorgos Lathimos first garnered recognition with his Oscar-nominated “Dogtooth” (2009) about three grown children raised in seclusion by their parents. His follow-up “Alps” (2012) explored the grieving process. Co-written with Efthimis Filippou, this is his first English-language film.

Weird to the extreme, it’s, perhaps, the opposite of a melodrama. The acting is almost forcibly restrained as the grim, unconventional situation grows increasingly more primitive and punitive.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Lobster” is a strange, surreal 7, an audacious, absurdist satire.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.