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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

In this hotel the animals check out, but they don't check in.

The Lobster (2015) on IMDb

Plot Overview

A lone woman (Jacqueline Abrahams) on a long wet drive through the countryside, pulls over and executes a mule grazing behind a fence. We see her hand on the wheel and then on the revolver. In this dystopia animal rights have progressed to the point that they provoke random acts of violence.

Sullen David's (Colin Farrell) feckless wife (Rosanna Hoult) has left him, but he still has his faithful dog whom he treats like his brother Bob. Bob pants away as David prepares to go some­where. We next see a (black) woman's hand filling out some forms as she checks him into some wacky lonely hearts hotel. Questions include: Are you homo- or hetero­sexual? Do you wear glasses or contacts? all asked in a breezy manner that suggests homo rights have progressed to full equality with heteros—bi's, though, present “operational” difficulties.

David is assigned a single's room (#101) for 45 days. If he finds a match in that time, he'll share with her a double. He also has a trank gun with twenty darts to start out with. If he can nail any new recruits from the loners they hunt in the woods, they'll extend his stay, one night per. When his time is up, they warn him, “You'll turn into an animal if you fail to fall in love.” David having more imagination than his brother will go bobbing in the ocean rather than chase sticks. They cuff one of his hands behind his back for one day to show him how two of some­thing (hands) are better than one.

David's animal of choice is a lobster, a decapod, having by definition five pairs of thoracic appendages. Humans' decimal system derives from our ten digits (fingers), but this dystopia seems to be more familiar with five the number of fingers on one hand (or the number of planes shot down to rate an ace), i.e. 45 days = 5 x 9, 20 darts = 5 x 4. When a man is asked to rate his love for his wife on a scale of 1 to 15 (i.e. 5 x 3), he can't love her completely and still use an even (paired) number. This mathematical incongruity might mean more to David who's an architect than it does to the average Joe.

The skits performed for the guests to show how two are better than one, they involve a man eating alone as opposed to eating with a woman, and a woman walking alone as opposed to walking with a man. The woman plays a nurturing role in the former situation, and the man plays a protective role in the latter. These sex roles have been obviated in favor of raw individuality where we see as a result the hotel manager is a woman (Olivia Coleman), the loners' leader's a woman (Lea Seydoux), and David's wife is economically independent enough to leave her husband with his high paying job.

To give women this economic freedom, children have become wards of the state, though they may be assigned to couples to help them live unselfishly. There's a children's rhyme I remember, “London Bridge is Falling Down.” London Bridge was over­built, too many buildings on it for the structure to support. Our over­built society is threatening collapse. The solution in the rhyme was to, “Take a key and lock her up, my fair lady.” Lock women in the house as home­makers and let men's and women's roles fall into place. This movie society has tied one hand behind its back and run things as individual cogs irrespective of sex, reaping an alienation between the sexes.


The opening scene is long enough to think about: a heavy rain turning into a rain of bullets from the troubled woman driver. Mankind was responsible for the slaughter of animals in a rain­storm, reminding one of Noah's flood brought on by the wickedness of man. In this society the animals we see strolling around: peacock, camel, etc., they are humans surgically altered according to preference, favoring the endangered ones. In the ancient days, (Gen. 7:11-14) “In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seven­teenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. In the self­same day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.” And God promised, never again: (Gen. 9:11-13) “And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” In “The Lobster” there's a bow of yellow balloons spanning the dais where the emcee presides at the dances, and in The City there's a similar bow of green and yellow balloons.

The law of the land in Noah's time was to marry and have children, (Gen. 9:1) “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Couples in the movie society who pass preliminary muster then go to live on a yacht to see if they can make it. In the ancient world, the surviving women had to have set up home­making on a rolling ark for over a year, They were the examples for home­makers to come.

David and his two friends Robert (John C. Reilly) and John (Ben Whishaw), whom the movie follows around, correspond to the three sons of Noah: (Gen. 6:10) “And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” Ham the youngest is represented by David him­self, the latest arrival. Researcher Mark DeWayne Combs posits that, “Although Jasher specific­ally references the births of Japheth and Shem, there is no such reference to the birth of Ham. … that Ham may have been much younger than his brothers and that he may have had a different mother” (389). (See my review of “Project Almanac” for a fuller explanation.) Combs also observes, “Fathering a child, particularly a son, through a hand­maiden or servant girl would not have been an uncommon or forbidden practice in that time period” (165). In “The Lobster” it was part of the duties of the maids to service (within prescribed limits) the guests, and we do in fact see a maid (Ariane Labed) performing frotteurism (“Spread your legs”) on a reluctant David. Our futuristic society is not so far removed from the ancient one after all.

The hunters are orderly in laying out the tranquilized bodies of the captured loners. For that matter the loners are orderly in burying their dead. David through an unfortunate attempted match, distinguishes him­self as inhuman in the way he views the splattered body of a suicide jumper: “I hope she suffers quite a bit before she dies. I just hope her pathetic screams can't be heard from my room.” Ouch! This leads through a series of cir­cum­stances to a sort of cosmic pay­back on an unwatch­able scene of David in a rest room. The camera mercifully switches to the quiet restaurant interior where if we watch the traffic out­side through the window and listen to the back­ground noise as the credits roll, we get a pretty good idea of whether or not he went through with it—my apologies for the pun. It's unlikely David's career will survive the experience.

After the Flood there was an incident, Gen. 9:20-22, where Noah got drunk on wine and was exposed in all his glory to his son Ham who brazenly viewed him so. Noah's other two sons, Shem and Japheth, covered him up, Gen. 9:23. Ham had violated him in some funda­mental way, Gen. 9:24. Noah's curse puts Ham's youngest son Canaan in a position of servitude, Gen. 9:25. Noah's other two sons Shem, Gen. 9:26, and Japheth, Gen. 9:27, were blessed by Noah. Writer Bodie Hodge (134) quotes “Bible Questions and Answers,” The Golden Age (July 24, 1929): p. 702.

Question: Is there anything in the Bible that reveals the origin of the Negro?

Answer: It is generally believed that the curse which Noah pronounced upon Canaan was the origin of the Black race. Certain it is that when Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren,” he pictured the future of the Colored race.

It would have been in bad literary taste to peg the curse of slavery to Ham's eldest son Cush—Cush in Hebrew means black—who settled in Africa, so it was specified on his youngest son Canaan who sired a people of long ago and now forgotten, making it more palatable for our equality-driven society.

Production Values

This movie, “” (2015) was directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, and co-written by Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou. The cast includes Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw and John C. Reilly. We witnessed a smooth, bridled performance from Farrell, playing against type, and the comedic talent of John C. Reilly at its lisping best. Ben Whishaw, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman shine in roles requiring straight faces in abnormal circumstances.

MPAA rated it R for sexual content including dialogue, and some violence. The first half of the film is pure black comedy, the second half a wilderness adventure. The ominous strains of Johnnie Burn's original score draw us in deeper. The characters' bluntness is disarming, their ‘dry’ straight­for­ward­ness funny. Their society is Twilight Zone simplistic. Men fight like girls; couples game each other like zombies; and woe be to the sorry buster who seeks release through masturbation. The editing suffices for the simple storyline.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

Nobody can accuse this film of being slick. Its amateurish formulation avoids distracting the audience from sussing out the nature of this unusual society, which is implicitly conveyed by chance comment and developing circumstance. It preys upon a deep racial memory of Noah's Flood mixed with a brooding suspicion that our real world is headed in the direction of this movie one, and it hasn't far to go to get there. If you like movies that creep you out, this one will fill the bill.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well, at least you can't see the strings. Video Occasion: Good for Groups. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Combs, Mark DeWayne. End the Beginning. USA: Splinter in the Mind's Eye Pub., 2014. Print.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.