Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Unbearable Slightness of (Being) Alone

I had been wanting to watch this remarkable Essay on what-it-means-to-be-alone-as-a-Human ever since I read Manohla Dargis' review in the Times. I finally got to see it recently, and went with my wife and two young men who were staying as guests in our house.

Sufficed to say, "The Lobster" is not for everyone, maybe even not for anyone. Although the Yorgos Lanthimos-helmed "sci fi" piece is by turns funny, tragic, head-scratching and remarkably well acted, it is in the end, almost unremittingly depressing. I am not sure whether that is more of a statement on the current state of humanity, or just the world view that the film is seeking to present.

In short, Colin Farrell plays the eponymous Lobster (the process of learning what that means is one of the joys, or horrors of the film depending on your personal reaction) a recently divorced man living in a non-specific City that looks remarkably like Belfast. Being newly single, the Lobster is forced to check in to The Hotel, where he will have a limited amount of time to find a new mate. If he does not, well, you will find out if you watch the film.

The poster, and billing would seem to imply that the amazing Rachel Weisz is Farrell's co-star throughout the film, but Weisz only appears in the late second act, and their very strange, and very sad romance starts late enough that "The Lobster" almost seems like two films. But is is one, seamlessly told and emotionally wrenching, as many critics have said. The Lobster tries very hard, but fails to find a mate, and circumvents the normal end game by meeting up with Weisz and her band of not so merry folk.

In addition to one of Farrell's best turns as an Actor, and Weisz's always great work, the stellar supporting cast just makes the dreary subject matter and potential outcome even more poignant. And, if it is possible to say, "The Lobster" has one of the most ambiguous endings since, well Chris Nolan's "Inception".

This is great stuff, folks, But not for the faint of heart.