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The Lobster (2015)

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In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.


Yorgos Lanthimos


Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou (as Efthimis Filippou)
208 ( 16)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 33 wins & 72 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jacqueline Abrahams ... Donkey Shooter
Roger Ashton-Griffiths ... Doctor
Jessica Barden ... Nosebleed Woman
Olivia Colman ... Hotel Manager
Anthony Dougall Anthony Dougall ... 70 Year Old Waiter
Sean Duggan ... Guard Waiter
Colin Farrell ... David
Roland Ferrandi ... Loner Leader's Father
James Finnegan James Finnegan ... Bald Man
Robert Heaney Robert Heaney ... Restaurant Waiter
Rosanna Hoult ... David's Wife
Jaro Jaro ... Bob the Dog
Ryac Ryac ... Bob the Dog
Ashley Jensen ... Biscuit Woman
Kathy Kelly Kathy Kelly ... Police Officer 1


A love story set in a dystopian near future where single people are arrested and transferred to a creepy hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal and released into the woods. Written by R. Byma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An unconventional love story by Yorgos Lanthimos.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content including dialogue, and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Ireland | UK | Greece | France | Netherlands


English | French | Greek

Release Date:

16 October 2015 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lobster See more »

Filming Locations:

County Kerry, Ireland See more »


Box Office


€4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$190,252, 15 May 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,699,235, 25 September 2016

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,978,887, 4 August 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

D-Cinema 48kHz 5.1



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


David (Colin Farrell), Robert (John C. Reilly) and John (Ben Wishaw) are the only named characters throughout the whole entire movie. See more »


After the heartless woman falls down from getting shot by David with a tranquilizer gun, her skirt falls open high enough to see her underwear. When David approaches her, her skirt is now covering up the underwear. See more »


Hotel Manager: How you like to spend your last night? What I always said in this situation is it would be wise to do something you can't do as an animal. For example, read a work of classic literature or sing a song you really like. It would be silly to choose, for example, a walking the ground or have sex intercourse with another person, those are things you can do as an animal.
See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Best Movies of 2016 (2017) See more »


String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110; 4. Largo
Composed by Dmitri Shostakovich
Permission of Boosey & Hawkes, an Imagem Company
Performed by Emerson String Quartet
Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon under licence from Universal Music Operations Ltd
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Lobster: The Absurdist Brilliance of Yorgos Lanthimos
8 February 2016 | by Manal1987See all my reviews

In a world where staying single is a breach of acceptable social norms, single people are isolated in a hotel and forced to find a partner in 45 days otherwise they will be turned into an animal of their choosing. People who somehow manage to escape to the woods are called 'loners' and are occasionally hunted by the hotel dwellers. An incongruous story that must have made Kafka dance in his grave, not only because it breaks away from logic but because it takes the absurd to a new level of significance. The Lobster has all elements of absurdist fiction – dark humor, irrationality, and cynicism, add to that a lurking social criticism that hits your mind and soul hard. The narrative is constructed in a way that lures you into giving up all your logical defenses after the first few minutes and totally surrender to the surreality of events. I truly envy writer and director Yorgos Lanthimos for having a mind that can come up with such twisted and brilliant stories.

If you have to choose between pretending to have feelings when you don't and pretending not to have feelings when you do, which would you prefer? This seems to be the kernel question of the film. The hotel dwellers are forced to pretend they have feelings for people in order to avoid being turned into animals. On the other hand, the loners are banned from showing feelings for each other even if they do. This absurd conundrum levels harsh criticism against a society that advocates binary opposition, an inherent concept that has become part and parcel of the human belief system of love and relationships as well. From the beginning of the film, it is made clear that there are no gray areas in this world; you're either heterosexual or homosexual, a size 44 or a size 45. It might not be that severe in the real world, but emotional extremism is just as bad. If you are in a relationship, you are expected to love to the fullest, and if you appreciate isolation and individuality, you are stigmatized as a heartless loner all the way through. Whatever you choose, you have to bend your personality or change something in yourself to fit in either group. In the film, this forced appropriation takes an emotional and a physical form, and it keeps you wondering which leaves more permanent scars, emotional or physical transformation? The story disparages a society that fails to acknowledge the paradoxical human condition – humans need company, yet they are innately loners; they love other people, yet they love themselves more; they have feelings, yet feelings are not meant to last forever; they are spiritual, yet predominantly physical. A world that fails to recognize this complexity is a pathetic, oppressive place.

As usual, Lanthimos' script is funny, iaconic and strikingly smart; all the dialogues are meaningful despite their seeming absurdity, and the scenes are meticulously written to contribute to the intricate world of the story and its underlying intended significance. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when the hotel manager (Olivia Colman) visits David (Colin Farrell) in his room and tells him that he has to carefully choose the animal he wants to turn into because, as an animal, he won't be able to have a sexual relationship with an animal of a different species, something that he can't already do as a human being since he has to find a 'matching' partner. The whole conversation is very humorous and absurd, and the joke continues as we see how people strive hard to find matching qualities in their partners including nosebleeds, limps, good voice, shortsightedness and lack of emotions. An extremely elaborate and cunning joke that deconstructs the myth of soulmate.

I think the acting is great and one of the main sources of dark humor and irony in the film. Imagine a story about love and relationships where actors don't show a single hint of emotions and talk and walk like constipated corpses most of the time. Martin McDonagh has already rediscovered Colin Farrell as a comedian in In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths and it is always nice to see another director picking up on that streak. Ben Whishaw and Aggeliki Papoulia are notably spectacular.

As if it isn't enough for Lanthimos to subvert storytelling and acting norms, he seems to play with artistic trends too. If you are familiar with the Lars von Trier's cinematographic experimentation (Antichrist and Melancholia in particular), you will see how Lanthimos uses slow motion and classic music to create a grandiose effect that stands in a hilarious contrast with the event taking place on the screen.

The Lobster is another must-watch multilayered witty narrative from the impeccable imaginarium of Yorgos Lanthimos.

It went straight to my heart and to my all-time favorite films list.

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