Margaret here, reporting from AFI Fest in Los Angeles..
The Lobster is the first English-language film from director Yorgos Lanthimos, Academy Award nominee for unsettling black comedy Dogtooth. The buzz since it debuted at Cannes (where it won the Jury Prize) has largely focused on its eyebrow-raising premise: in a society where being part of a couple is mandatory, the perpetually or recently single are rounded up and sent to The Hotel where they must either pair off or be turned into an animal. It's offbeat and biting and not for everyone, but it's also captivating and dryly hilarious. Here are five reasons you should check it out:
1) A bonkers premise improbably well-executed. The setup is so very odd that its ambition alone would make it worth seeing; the fact that the movie sells it without ever straining under the weight of exposition is masterful. In Lanthimos' bizarro world, where existing social rituals around courtship are both flattened and taken the extreme, lonely people scrutinize and reject each other with laughably trivial reasons and deadly serious consequences. Interactions are stilted, and many scenes sound for all the world like they've been dubbed over with a foreign-language translation, except what we're hearing are the actual words coming out of the actors' mouths. But the universe feels fully realized: odd as the relationship dynamics are, they're both internally consistent and recognizably human.