The Lobster – Love is Black

(Warning: Contain spoilers)

I have read a few Thai reviews on the movie before heading to the cinema to finally see it for myself. I was quite surprised when I found out this movie draws mainstream attention here, as I sensed a strong Black Comedy and Satire even just by watching the trailer. In fact, I was unsure if I would enjoy the movie, as I knew beforehand it’s not relatively easy to absorb absurd drama. Anyone who goes watch it and expects this to be a movie plainly aimed for single people surely is almost guaranteed to get disappointed. 

And isn’t it as satirical as expected? – ridicule, shame, and strip down the concept of love and society to its core, by holding true to the definition of Satire as in, “First it makes you laugh, then it makes you think.” And indeed it did – making us doubt the societal notion of love and relationships and perhaps our own selves. For the whole 2 hours, I felt as if some pins keep stinging my skin as the movie gradually shows irony and sarcasm on the aforementioned topic in their clever dialogs and settings. 

Literally, everything – the symbols and settings in the movie are done to reflect the “black” and “white” worlds, in this case “single” and “couple” worlds in a dystopia when love is fixed on one shape and form, dictated by regulations. Having a couple is good, being alone is terrible, having children fix problems in marriages, the movie told us in its exaggerated manner. We may laugh at how ridiculous those messages are, but seriously, think about it, how is that different from the society nowadays? 

Since when love means finding someone with similar traits and characteristics to us? First we may think it is ridiculous or stupid because we have the free will to choose who we love, unlike in the movie. In the movie, they need to change (force the nosebleed…) otherwise they would be changed to animals. But in real life, even without the death sentence, many of us are willing to change who we are in order to attract the potential romantic partner. Free will? I chuckle. You can shove the word free will up your ass. 

I personally love the scene with demonstration of “man eats alone” “man eats with woman” and “woman walks alone” “woman walks with man” and was laughing so hard. Very 1984-like. Propaganda at its best. It just couldn’t get any better than that. Again, we may laugh at how ridiculous it is, but tell me, how are those propagandas different from political stance like, let’s say, Thailand and its 12 core Thai values demonstrating how good of a Thai person should behave? 

One scene that is really painful to watch for me is when the “loner” group leader told a man to shoot his partner, so that he can stay alive. He did, and found out there was no bullet. Then the woman gave a sinister smile and walked away. That would really kill couple in “love” alive, without needing to literally kill them. That is the scene that shows the darkest side of a person when they say how much they love someone. In the end, aren’t we all selfish human beings? Always putting one’s self first, even though we claim we are madly in love with someone. How much is love? In love, how much does it contain selfishness? 

The second half of the movie shows the opposite side. When two main characters met in a “loner” group and fell in love, even though it is strictly forbidden, how much are they willing to sacrifice? How far would they go to prove their love? I read some comments on Thai reviews that some people dislike the ending, when it doesn’t show a clear-cut conclusion. To me, though, that is indeed the perfect ending for a satirical movie. It makes you doubt and think, just like it does from the beginning, whether the man is willing to make himself blind to be with her whom he “loves” The end is up to your own interpretation, leaves you question like the rest of the movie.  

It is a strange movie, but it helps if you are prepared that things get exaggerated and heavily sarcastic in satire literature. It may take time to acclimatize. But personally, I love the wit hidden in black humor and those ridiculous acts. It’s not “HA HA” slapstick funny, it’s snickering kind of funny that lingeringly stings, if you pause and *think* about the issues the movie tries to ridicule. 

And even though you don’t like it, it’s worth seeing just for the electronic music dance moves from the loners. Priceless. 

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