The Lobster is a bizarre dystopia where everyone must be part of a couple. Those who become single are sent to The Hotel where they have 45 days to “fall in love” with a new partner (who, ideally, also falls in love with them.) Those who do not manage to pair up with someone are turned into animals.
It’s a very dark and disturbing film, and you probably shouldn’t watch this one if you have recently had a romantic relationship come to an end.
Warning: There are spoilers in this post.
I’m not revealing why the movie is called “The Lobster.” And, I’m leaving out a whole lot of things that happen in the movie.
The movie focuses on David (played by Colin Farrell), who has come to The Hotel. His wife of 11 years left him, which means he is now single. There is no indication that they had children.
The check-in process at The Hotel is depressing. David arrives with his brother, who has been turned into a dog. He is allowed to keep his-brother-the-dog, but must keep him in the hotel room.
People who arrive at The Hotel have almost all of their belongings taken from them, including their clothing. The Hotel gives everyone identical outfits to wear. The men are given some slacks (of two different colors) and some shirts. Women are given multiple, identical, blue dresses and multiple flowered dresses. Everyone is given just enough clothes to get through their stay (including socks and underwear.) My guess is the purpose of this is to make everyone look as much like everyone else as possible.
There is a moment when the camera focuses on a group of the saddest looking people, most of whom look depressed and unattractive, sitting in their underwear, waiting to be assigned a room. At first glance, I found it difficult to believe that any of these people had a good chance of finding a new partner.
David is asked the same question all guests are asked: Are you heterosexual or homosexual? At first, he answers: “heterosexual”. But then, he recalls that there was a man… so he declares himself “bisexual”.
The Hotel does not allow that. If I remember correctly, the person checking David in says that he is not allowed to be bisexual. They tried that, and it messed up their system. So, David thinks about it a little while, and decides to declare himself heterosexual.
I thought it was interesting that The Hotel placed no stigma at all upon a person’s sexual orientation. Being heterosexual was accepted. Being homosexual was accepted. Being bisexual was acceptable, too (and would still be if The Hotel could work that orientation into their system.)
Later, David finds himself as part of a group that includes both men and women. Presumably, there are other groups: one made up entirely of men, and the other made up entirely of women. We never see those groups in the movie.
Each person is asked by The Manager what animal they want to be turned into if they are unable to find a partner. The idea is that a person who cannot find a human partner might have better luck finding a partner after they have been turned into an animal.
The Hotel doesn’t place any sigma upon a person’s sexual orientation – but they do have some very strange rules regarding sex and masturbation. No one is allowed to masturbate while they are at The Hotel.
There is a scene that involves David and The Maid. She is kind of grinding on him, but in a way that seems very mechanical and unappealing. It’s a service that is being provided. The Maid stops before David reaches orgasm. It appears that the purpose of this is to… encourage the male guests to find a woman to become a couple with?
There is a severe punishment for the men who masturbate in The Hotel. It is disturbing, but not as disturbing as the punishments that The Loners have for those who kiss or have sex. The Loners are a group of people who escaped from The Hotel and are living in the forest.
The point I’m trying to make is that the people who are in The Hotel aren’t allowed to have sex with anyone else – until after they have become a couple. The Loners are not allowed to have sex with anyone, ever (but they are allowed to masturbate – so long as they are doing it alone.)
So, where are the children in “The Lobster” coming from?
There is a point in the movie where two people have officially declared that they are in love. The new couple is removed from the group and given a hotel room to share. If that works out, the couple will spend some time together on one of the small yachts that is owned by the hotel.
The new relationship is closely monitored by the staff of The Hotel, as well as by the Hotel Manager and her husband. They want to make sure the couple is really a couple before releasing them from The Hotel.
The Manager tells the new couple that if they have any tensions, any arguing, that they cannot resolve themselves, they will be assigned children. She says that usually helps a lot. People don’t want to argue around children.
Things do not go super smoothly with this couple, and we see them later with a daughter that looks to be about eight years old. Where did this child come from? The couple could not be the child’s biological parents because not enough time has passed for them to have an eight-year-old daughter.
Without giving too much away, there are scenes from The City. It seems to be the place where couples live. Everyone there is a couple. The police stop a few single people and basically ask for their papers. There aren’t any children present.
Now, I suppose it’s possible that The City is a place that is only for adults, and that children aren’t allowed there. Maybe the kids are in school (or daycare) when the parents go to The City. It’s also possible that all of these couples have relationships that are smooth enough that they didn’t end up being assigned children.
Later in the movie, there is a part where one of The Loners introduces a few other Loners to her parents. She doesn’t look anything like her parents, so one can assume she was an assigned child.
“The Lobster” is a movie that gives the viewer just enough story, and leaves them to imagine the parts that aren’t specifically laid out for them. The movie didn’t give me any answers about where the assigned children come from.
Here are my best guesses about that:
1. The children are “orphans”. A couple that has been assigned a child (or more than one child) breaks up. The parents become singles. In this world, people cannot be single. So, someone – maybe The Hotel – takes the children away from both parents.
This allows each parent to find a new partner, or to be turned into an animal if they are unable to find a new partner. The former parent can focus all of their attention on finding a new partner without worrying about what happened to their assigned children.
There must be a large orphanage somewhere (and it probably isn’t located in The City). The children become “orphans”. They might get assigned to new parents one day.
2. The children are from accidental pregnancies. Two people at The Hotel become a couple. They have lots of sex. They are either not using any kind of birth control, or their birth control of choice fails. The woman gets pregnant.
There are no examples in the movie of a couple that is raising their biological child together. Maybe this accidentally produced child is automatically sent to the orphanage after he or she is born. This child would one day be assigned to another couple (who need a child because they cannot resolve their differences and are arguing too much.)
It is possible that all of the adults in the movie were raised in an orphanage (until they were assigned parents). If so, then the couple with the accidental pregnancy would consider it quite normal to send their newborn to the orphanage. This society highly values couples, and places a huge stigma on single people. The society doesn’t seem to give much thought to children (or who raises them).
3. The children are “test tube babies” or clones or are produced in some way that doesn’t involve a typical pregnancy. Viewers must accept the premise that The Hotel is quite capable of turning a person into an animal. From there, it doesn’t seem too difficult to imagine that The Hotel collects DNA from the guests, and sends that DNA to a lab for the purpose of making babies.
4. The children are coming from an entirely different society that has an abundance of children and not nearly enough parents to raise them. Maybe the other society doesn’t care if people are single, or part of a couple, and also doesn’t care who decides to have sex with whom. Sometimes, a pregnancy occurs. Parents can decide for themselves if they want to raise the child or send it away for someone else to raise.
5. The children are coming from a situation that I haven’t thought of.
Where did the Children Come From in “The Lobster”? is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.
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