MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
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Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz.
There’s no doubt about it – we just can’t stop talking about ourselves; specifically, our sexual selves. What does it mean to be male or female? What are acceptable gender roles? If we believe in equality for all, why is there still such wage discrepancy between men and women in the workplace? What is the definition of marriage in a Christian context? If marriage is God’s plan, why do so many “traditional marriages” go wrong? Is it important to play by the rules in order to get ahead in the world, or should you challenge the status quo when you find it oppressive?
I’m sure that there are some who would just as soon not have to think about any of these things, but if you are the kind of person who would enjoy a provocative film about the discomfort of relationships, The Lobster is well worth a viewing.
The film is an allegory, set in an alternative world in which courtship and marriage are supervised and controlled by the state in a semi-benevolent fashion. The recently single are sent to a resort for a 45-day period. During that time they will be able to relax, dine and socialize with other singles, with the goal of finding a mate for life. If they are unable to make a connection after 45 days, they will be transformed into the animal of their choice.
As the film begins David (Farrell) is checking into the resort hotel after a recent breakup. His brother has recently gone through the program so David has some idea about what to expect. But he soon learns through conversations with other men that there are more restrictions that must be met in order for a match to pass the test.
Outside the grounds of the hotel, deep in the forest, there’s another group of people – single “loners” who have escaped the program. David soon has a moral dilemma: Should he continue his pathway towards a new normal relationship or venture out into the wilderness to take a stand against the powers that be? There is a chance that David has found his soul mate with a woman he meets (Weisz), if he can only discover a way to do so without receiving chastisement from the government or punishment from the rebels.
Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos creates a world that is cold and impersonal in which to spin his tale. There are many moments of dark comedy along the way, but there are also brief scenes of joyless sex and brutal violence.
As Christians we believe that life and love are gifts from God. But if there is one thing that you can’t legislate, it’s love. Love must be given and received as a gift of grace. That is why I found The Lobster – with its harrowing Spirit-free reality – such a haunting movie, troubling its way into my mind and heart for two hours, only to lead me to a disturbing and open-ended conclusion.
Three halos. A strange and haunting film about society’s rules of relationship and of the possibilities for love in the midst of oppression.
Four pitchforks: Swearing; scenes of shocking violence; oppression; sexual talk and non-graphic sex scenes.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
COMMENTS! Do you have comments about this movie or movie review?
E-mail comments. (Comments will be posted to our web site.)
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