Miami Film Festival

MIFF 2016: The Lobster Is a Harrowing and Darkly Hilarious Critique of Ritualized Love

Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos burst onto the international film scene in 2009 with the disturbing Oscar-nominated family drama, Dogtooth. Now he emerges with his English-language debut. The Lobster takes place in a dystopian future where people must pair off as lovers within 45 days or be turned into the animal of their choosing. Though Lanthimos cast stars Colin Farrell, John C. Reilly, and Rachel Weisz, he didn't compromise his obtuse, startling style for Hollywood.
Lanthimos' tendency toward open-ended plots is brilliantly suited for this study of the absurdity of perpetual monogamy. He includes tranquilizer guns and stark, often deadpan humor. He also never explains why the world has come to this or how its technological marvel, the Transformation Room, works. He's more interested in presenting a harrowing and darkly hilarious critique of ritualized love.
It's a love story that's not for the faint of heart. The Lobster also features disturbing images of dead animals. It questions humanity's tendency to pair and whether true, symbiotic love can exist without perilous sacrifices to one's sense of self. 

The Lobster
Starring Jacqueline Abrahams, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Jessica Barden, Colin Farrell, John C. Reilly, and Rachel Weisz. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou. Rated R. 118 minutes. Screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, at Tower Theater (1508 SW Eighth St., Miami) and 9:15 p.m. Friday, March 11, at Regal Cinemas South Beach 18 & IMAX (1120 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Visit miamifilmfestival.com.

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Hans Morgenstern has contributed to Miami New Times for too many decades, but he's grown to love Miami's arts and culture scene because of it. He is the chair of the Florida Film Critics Circle, and most of his film criticism can be found on Independent Ethos (indieethos.com) if not in New Times.