The Lobster

For other uses, see Lobster (disambiguation).
The Lobster

Film poster
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Produced by
  • Ceci Dempsey
  • Ed Guiney
  • Yorgos Lanthimos
  • Lee Magiday
Written by
  • Efthymis Filippou
  • Yorgos Lanthimos
Music by Johnnie Burn
Cinematography Thimios Bakatakis
Edited by Yorgos Mavropsaridis
  • Element Pictures
  • Scarlet Films
  • Faliro House Productions
  • Haut et Court
  • Lemming Film
  • Film4 Productions
Distributed by
  • Feelgood Entertainment (Greece)
  • Haut et Court (France)
  • Element Pictures (Ireland)
  • De Filmfreak (Netherlands)
  • Picturehouse Entertainment (UK)
Release dates
  • 15 May 2015 (2015-05-15) (Cannes)
  • 16 October 2015 (2015-10-16) (United Kingdom & Ireland[1])
  • 22 October 2015 (2015-10-22) (Greece & Netherlands)
  • 28 October 2015 (2015-10-28) (France)
Running time
118 minutes[2]
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
  • Greece
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • English
  • French
Budget 4 million
($4.5 million)[3]
Box office $15.7 million[4]

The Lobster is a 2015 internationally co-produced absurdist dystopian comedy-drama[5][6] film directed, co-written, and co-produced by Yorgos Lanthimos, co-produced by Ceci Dempsy, Ed Guiney, and Lee Magiday, and co-written by Efthymis Philippou. In the film's setting, singles are given 45 days to find a romantic partner or otherwise be turned into animals.[7] It stars Colin Farrell as a newly-single man trying to find someone so he can remain human, and Rachel Weisz as a woman with whom he attempts to form a relationship. The film is co-produced by Ireland, United Kingdom, Greece, France and the Netherlands.

It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and won the Jury Prize. It was shown in the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.[8]


David discovers that his wife has left him for another man, and is escorted to a hotel. The hotel manager reveals that singles have 45 days to find a partner, or they will be transformed into an animal; David's dog is his brother, for example. David chooses a lobster, due to their life cycle and his love of the sea. The hotel has many rules and rituals: masturbation is banned, but sexual stimulation by the hotel maid is mandatory, and guests attend dances and watch propaganda extolling advantages of partnership.

David makes acquaintances with a man with a lisp and a man with a limp, who become his quasi-friends. Limping man explains that he was injured in an attempt to reconnect with his mother, who had been transformed into a wolf. Lisping man is caught masturbating, and the hotel manager burns his fingers in a toaster. Relationships apparently require partners to have a distinguishing trait in common. Limping man is told a woman has arrived with a limp, but he says she limps from an injury that will heal and is not a suitable match. Limping man instead wins the affections of a woman with constant nosebleeds by purposely smashing his nose in secret. They move to the couples section to begin their month-trial partnership.

Residents can extend their deadline by tranquilizing single people in the forest; each captured "loner" earns them a day. On one such hunt, a woman with a fondness for biscuits offers David sexual favors, which he declines. She tells him that if she fails to find a mate, she will kill herself by jumping from a hotel window.

David later decides to court a notoriously cruel woman who has tranquilized more loners than anyone else. Their initial conversation is interrupted by the screams of the biscuit-loving woman, who has severely injured herself jumping from a window. Although troubled by the incident, David pretends to enjoy the woman's suffering to gain the heartless woman's interest. He later joins her in a jacuzzi, and she feigns choking; when he does not attempt help, she decides they are a match. The two have sex, and when David wakes up one morning after demonstrating signs of attachment, he finds she has kicked David's brother (in dog form) to death. When David cries in response, she concludes their relationship is a lie and drags him toward the hotel manager. He escapes capture and, with the help of a sympathetic maid, tranquilizes and transforms his partner into an unnamed animal.

Escaping the hotel, David joins the loners in the woods. In contrast, they forbid any romance, with mouth mutilation as punishment. David, who is nearsighted, begins a secret relationship with a nearsighted woman. They develop a gestural code for communication. They are taken on covert missions to the city, where their cover requires them to appear as lovers, which they secretly enjoy.

The loners launch a raid to sabotage the hotel's work. David reveals to the nosebleed woman that her partner has been faking, and he forces David to leave. Other loners hold the hotel manager and her husband at gunpoint, tricking him into shooting his wife to save himself, but the gun is not loaded, leaving the couple to face each other.

The leader finds the near-sighted woman's journal and discovers her plan to escape with David. The leader takes the woman to the city, ostensibly to have an operation to cure her near-sightedness, but blinds her. She tells David, who tries to find something else they have in common, but to no avail. He says they'll figure it out, and tells her to continue with their plan. Early the next morning, David overpowers and ties up the leader, ostensibly leaving her to be eaten by dogs. He and the blind woman escape to the city, stopping at a restaurant. Seeking to reestablish commonality, David goes to the restroom and prepares to blind himself with a steak knife. The blind woman waits at the table for him to return, and the film cuts to black.



Principal photography began on 24 March 2014, and concluded on 9 May 2014.[10] Filming took place in Dublin, Ireland, which represents "The City" in the film, and also at locations in and around County Kerry, including Sneem, Dromore Woods and Kenmare.[11][12][13][14]

Marketing and distribution

In May 2014, it was announced that Sony Pictures acquired the distribution rights for Australia, New Zealand, German-speaking Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.[15] A film still featuring Farrell, Whishaw, and Reilly was released around the same time.[16] In May 2015, Alchemy acquired United States distribution rights; however, due to the company's financial struggles at the time, A24 acquired the US rights instead.[17][18] Originally scheduled for an 11 March 2016 release, it was re-scheduled to 13 May 2016.[19][20]


Critical response

The Lobster received acclaim from film critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 90% based on reviews from 182 critics, with an average score of 7.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "As strange as it is thrillingly ambitious, The Lobster is definitely an acquired taste – but for viewers with the fortitude to crack through Yorgos Lanthimos' offbeat sensibilities, it should prove a savory cinematic treat."[21] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 82, based on 44 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[22]

Oliver Lyttelton of The Playlist awarded the film an "A" grade and described it as "an atypically rich and substantial comedy" with "an uproarious yet deadpan satire concerning societal constructs, dating mores and power structures that also manages to be a surprisingly moving, gloriously weird love story." He concluded that the film was Lanthimos' "most accessible and purely enjoyable film yet".[23] Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave a positive review and commended the film for being "visually stunning, narratively bold, and totally singular", adding that "it opens [one's] eyes to a new way of storytelling."[24]

Guy Lodge, writing for Variety, called the film "a wickedly funny, unexpectedly moving satire of couple-fixated society", elaborating that Lanthimos' "confounding setup emerges as a brilliant allegory for the increasingly superficial systems of contemporary courtship, including the like-for-like algorithms of online dating sites and the hot-or-not snap judgments of Tinder."[25]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian rated the film three stars out of five, and wrote that The Lobster is "elegant and eccentric in Lanthimos’ familiar style", but "appears to run out of ideas at its mid-way point".[26] IGN awarded it a score of 8.5 out of 10, saying "Colin Farrell heads up this surreal, hilarious and ultimately quite disturbing tale."[27]

Wai Chee Dimock, writing in the Los Angeles Review of Books, called The Lobster a "fable of purgatory" and saw the ending not as "a romanticism finally let out of the bag, but a romanticism handicapped and disabled." She compared the film to the work of Samuel Beckett, saying that, for this all-Greek team, "absurdist theater is second nature, as it was second nature to the Irish Beckett a century ago."[28]


List of awards and nominations
Award / film festival Category Recipient(s) Result
Belgian Film Critics Association[29] Grand Prix The Lobster Nominated
British Academy Film Awards[30] Outstanding British Film The Lobster Nominated
British Independent Film Awards[31][32] Best British Independent Film The Lobster Nominated
Best Director Yorgos Lanthimos Nominated
Best Actor Colin Farrell Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Olivia Colman Won
Best Supporting Actor Ben Whishaw Nominated
Best Screenplay Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou Nominated
Producer of the Year Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Lee Magiday Nominated
Cannes Film Festival[33][34] Palme d'Or The Lobster Nominated
Jury Prize The Lobster Won
Queer Palm – Special Mention The Lobster Won
Palm Dog Award – Grand Jury Prize Bob the dog Won
Crested Butte Film Festival Best Narrative Feature The Lobster Won
Critics' Choice Awards[35] Best Original Screenplay Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou Pending
Dublin Film Critics' Circle[36] Best Irish Film The Lobster 5th place
Best Actor Colin Farrell 5th place
European Film Awards[37][38] Best European Film The Lobster Nominated
Best European Director Yorgos Lanthimos Nominated
Best European Actor Colin Farrell Nominated
Best European Screenwriter Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou Won
Best Costume Designer Sarah Blenkinsop Won
Evening Standard British Film Awards[39][40] Best Film The Lobster Nominated
Award for Comedy Olivia Colman Nominated
Colin Farrell Nominated
Film Fest Gent[41] Georges Delerue Award for Best Sound Design The Lobster Won
Irish Film & Television Awards[42] Best Actor in a Lead Role (Film) Colin Farrell Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle[43] British / Irish Film of the Year The Lobster Nominated
Supporting Actress of the Year Olivia Colman Nominated
British / Irish Actor of the Year Colin Farrell Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association[44] Best Screenplay Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou Won
Miami International Film Festival[45] Grand Jury Award for Best Director Yorgos Lanthimos Won
Online Film Critics Society[46] Best Non-U.S. Films The Lobster Won
Rotterdam International Film Festival[47] ARTE International Prize for Best CineMart 2013 Project The Lobster Won
Satellite Awards[48] Best Original Screenplay Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou Pending
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association[49] Best Original Screenplay Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou Pending


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  2. "THE LOBSTER (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  3. "Les Arcs celebrates diverse crop of Ireland films". 21 December 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  4. "The Lobster (2016)". The Numbers. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
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  40. "Evening Standard British Film Awards 2016: Idris Elba and Dame Maggie Smith lead list of winners". London Evening Standard. 7 February 2016.
  41. "Ixcanul wins the Film Fest Gent". Cineuropa. 21 October 2015.
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  46. "'Mad Max: Fury Road' Wins Best Picture of 2015 From Online Film Critics Society". Variety. 13 December 2015.
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External links

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