There is no genre more writhe with clichés than romantic films. Although love is a complex emotion that each of us experiences in a subjective manner, the way that it has been portrayed on film for decades now has lacked any real insight into the true turmoil and turbulence that comes with the act of falling in love.

An element that has been completely ignored while discussing romance is the societal pressures that force our hand at times and ends up displacing our true intent.

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The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lathimos, is a 2015 British film that focuses its sights on the external influences responsible for making us choose a partner, and delivers a strange and compelling film that will leave you questioning the true intentions behind finding companionship.

Find love or die trying

The Lobster is set in a dystopic world that is quite similar to our own, expect when it comes to being in a relationship. In this society, it is mandatory to have a partner, otherwise you are given 45 days before you are turned into an animal of your choice.

David (the only character with a name in this film), played by Colin Farrell, is thrown into the middle of these unique circumstances when his wife of 11 years and one month falls in love with another man.

David is then sent to a hotel-like establishment where he is forced to find himself a new partner. David chooses to become a lobster if he doesn’t find love in time, purely because of his love for the sea and the extended life-span and virility of the crustacean.

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During his time at the hotel, he meets a lot of other newly-single individuals, including the characters of John C. Reilly and Ben Whishaw, who become his pseudo-friends. It is revealed that people need to partner up based on distinguishing characteristics, and two people who share the same distinguishing characteristics are considered the perfect match. The story progresses with David attempting to fake his way to a partner and eventually getting caught for his deceit.

He eventually flees the hotel and makes his way to the ‘loners’ in the woods.

The loners are constantly hunted by the ‘singles’ on a daily basis, and each kill earns the singles an extra day to find their partner. David realizes that the loners live on the exact opposite end of the spectrum as compared to the people in the cities, but he ends up finding a suitable partner for himself during these testing times. The story of David trying to make his relationship work with the new partner constitutes the third and final act of the film.

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A love saga that is true to our time

There are several important themes that are brilliantly explored during the course of this film. While the pressures of society to find a suitable mate forms the basic thematic crux, it is brilliantly saddled with other observations such as our need to seek out personalities similar to our own, the myth of survival rates being higher among couples, and the illusion that happiness can be attained only in the company of others.

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The film is brimming with brilliant scenes that are purely situational, and they truly thrive in this environment. The inmates being aroused on a daily basis without the permission to gratify themselves is hilarious, while David attempting to fake a stern persona in order to attract a suitable mate is also riveting. The acting in this film is filled with awkward and subtle performances, just what the director must have demanded from the stellar cast.

It is sad to note that a film about humans being turned into animals without finding love made only 15.6 million dollars at the box office, while a film about a women attempting to become a vampire after falling in love (Twilight) made close to 400 million dollars. This truly places The Lobster in the underrated category.

I give it a personal rating of 9 out of 10 bananas. If you are feeling out of touch with the idea of love, then this film will offer you good company.

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