Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lobsters and Tigers

Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in The Lobster

Hello movie world. It's me again. I know, I know. It's been a while. It's not you, it's me. On the off chance that anyone is still listening, I thought I'd check in to let you all know that I'm still going to movies even if I haven't been writing about them.

For example, I've spent the last couple of days wondering why I didn't like The Lobster (2015, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos), a film that has received rapturous notices form other quarters. I mean, in principle, it's a film I should like: oddball Charlie Kaufman-ish premise, a cast of stellar actors, and Rachel Weisz, who I adore. And yet, when I made my way through to the end, I found myself resenting it for the time I took to get there. I think its a film that's so caught up in creating its argument out of whole cloth that it loses track of whether it's telling you something about the world that's actually true. It's premised on a world in which you are compelled to be partnered and are hunted if you are single or else turned into an animal (hence the lobster of the title), and within the society of the single is compulsion to stay that way.  It matches people based on the most superficial of criteria: people who are prone to bloody noses are a match, people who are heartlessly cruel are a match, people who are myopic are a match. This is a film that views love relationships inside a societal framework that's totalitarian, which is a totally cynical view of love and partnering. And once it maneuvers itself to the notion that love is or ought to be blind rather than predicated on some superficial characteristic, its ending doesn't even have the courage of its own metaphor. I found it unpleasant.