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Movie Review

'The Lobster' is Difficult to Understand


For the first half hour or so, I thought I understood what The Lobster was trying to be about. It's set in a society where bachelor-hood is illegal and unmarried men of a certain age have to find a mate within establishment society inside of 45 days or they will be turned into animals of their choice; our hero has chosen to be a lobster, maybe because lobsters have hard shells and big claws to defend themselves against attackers. The fact that they are customarily boiled alive for food didn't seem to fit, but parodies are seldom complete in detail.  

But as The Lobster went along, it became evident that this was not what it was about after all. For example, what did this have to do with a man's burning his hand in a toaster? A hint that men are not well suited to kitchen work? That seemed far-fetched. 

And after our hero escapes the establishment and joins the outsiders in the woods, and the rebels seem all but identical to the establishment, I pretty well gave up trying to understand anything but the dialogue.

Dialogue that is in some kind of Irish dialect, spoken, as the only two reviews of The Lobster I have found point out, as if the speakers did not fully understand the lines themselves. Except for the man with the burning hand, nobody shows any emotion at any time. And yet before The Lobster is over, we are to believe that love is so operatically powerful that one woman blinds another, somebody gets murdered, and one person is ordered to bury himself alive and actually tries to do so.

I leave you to try to figure out what this is all about any why the Rotten Tomatoes review gave The Lobster 91 out of a possible 100 and the Eagle "Go!" section gave it three-and-a-half out of a possible four stars. Don't ask me: I sat through it once, and that's it for me.