Rated R for Rhododendron. Because that's as weird of an answer as anything else in this movie.
DIRECTOR: Yorgos Lanthimos
The class consensus when it came to the buzz about this movie? "I heard that weird was weird and gross." They say that like it's a bad thing. Okay, the movie is pretty gross. There's some really uncomfortable parts with the movie and I would feel mortified if my mom was in the room watching this one, but that grossness is almost unique in the way that it is presented.
The class was right. The movie is extremely bizarre. I can see why this film is up for an Academy Award for original screenplay rather than any other category because the script is something wholly unique in itself. The movie is science fiction in the broadest sense of the genre. This has to be a futuristic world because of the change in societal norms and the way that the government functions. The only new technology that establishes this as some other world than present day is the invention of an Animal Transformation Room, which we know exists simply because of the door that leads to that room. Besides that, we don't have a ton differentiating the world of The Lobster from Cincinnati, OH...or somewhere in Ireland because of everyone's dialect minus John C. Reilly. But the thing that makes this movie somehow different from the 1984 realities is the fact that the movie is wildly unapologetic for the the world that it presents and the fact that it doesn't even attempt to explain why this world is like it is. The world is weird because the weirdness pushes the story. If the movie wasn't weird, it would be a film about sad people. Although I like movies about sad people because it means I'm a better person. (Wait, I don't actually think that, right?)
I have to criticize the marketing department for putting the most miss-the-mark critiques with their trailers. The movie constantly promotes the idea that this is the romance movie for the 21st Century. Um, shut up? I think that's my response. This movie is about a romance, but in no way is the movie even remotely romantic. Okay, my wife was probably rooting for the relationship between Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, but even she had to admit that the movie tried its darndest to make us not relate to them. That's maybe what defines this movie as a separate genre. It is about a relationship, but just the very nature of that word kind of cheapens what's really going on here. It's just insanity. It is about a coupling that makes me want to scream practical advice at the screen, but I can't because A) it's a movie that has already been filmed , B) these are fictional character living in a groovy far-out reality and C) because my advice couldn't possibly exist in this world. There is no relating to this movie and there probably isn't too much to learn from their relationship.
Thie emotional experience is centered around the guffaws. It's the discomfort of not knowing what the heck is going on screen and loving that it takes me to uncomfortable places. While I keep preaching that there is nothing that really parallels my existence, the movie hides a weird truth behind it. Their actions are so mundane and so honest in their absurdity. If I handed you a jarful of pickled onions for Christmas, you should respond with confusion, "Why would you give me this on a Wednesday?" The movie sets this tone up fabulously. So in the weirdest sense, there is a love story here. But in our reality, you shouldn't be taking part in this love story. I'd worry about you.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.