March 26, 2017 | Rome, Italy | Partly cloudy 16°C
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Biopics

Hidden Figures

Theodore Melfi's movie about black women at NASA in the early 1960s is driven by Taraji P. Henson.

Hacksaw Ridge

Mel Gibson''s return to directing is a World War II epic about a heroic conscientious objector.

Anthropod

Sean Ellis' attempt to recreate the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich is smart but choppy.

Documentaries

Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years

Ron Howard's Beatles' portrait sets its sights on tracking the band's rise from obscurity, and does so brilliantly.

Drama

Sully

Stalwart Tom Hanks again proves that given the right story and the right script, he's today's Jimmy Stewart.

Deepwater Horizon

Peter Berg lets fire dictate the terms in his story of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore

Macon Blair channels his inner Coen Brothers vibe to sketch out a screwball noir.

Horror

The Autobiography of Jane Doe

André Øvredal's creepy chiller a corpse into the forefront and lets it play havoc.

Green Room

A punk band "lost" in the Oregon woods opens the door to gleefully gratuitous violence. The end.

Thrillers

Jason Bourne

Once upon a time, director Paul Greengrass gave Jason Bourne a soul and some depth. No longer.




Date: 2015
Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden, Olivia Colman, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux

The Lobster

Many movies tagged as dystopian fail their billing. This one surely does. In a landscape that resembles today's, single people are herded into a seaside hotel where they're given 45 days to find a suitable partner. Rules are strict and robotic. Emotion is discouraged. Guests that come up empty are considered hopeless and promptly transformed into the animal of their choosing. Successful mate-finders are feted in a hotel ceremony, given a supervised honeymoon, and later moved to "the city" where they're inserted into "normal" society. Couples that argue are assigned children to distract them. Escapees from the mating hotel are labeled "loners" and branded as outcasts. They live in the woods where hotel guests hunt them for capture and animal conversion.

Enter Colin Farrell architect David. His wife left him and his only company is his trusty dog (once his brother but transformed). It's David's last chance to find a new mate, and his saga will take him from hotel to woods, where he'll meet a woman (Rachel Weisz) who will trigger personal upheaval.

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos and writer Efthymis Filippou have devised a clever if often lurid parable about coupling in the absence of feelings. Love is ostensibly what separates humans from animals yet the humans here are eager to make animals of their fellows if they fail to live up to the prearranged conceits and conditions of mating. There's a well-played Josef Mengele ingredient to all this permeates even the comedic.

Yet the Greek duo holds fast to its alarming vision, keeping sentimental interference at bay. Nowhere is mating portrayed as a matter of feelings, let alone messy human love. Even the loners don't allow flirting. What intrigues the filmmakers is the word compatibility, and they carry their fascination to bizarre extremes — until David alters the script.

Early on, the hotel manager reassures guests that animal transformation isn't such a bad thing. "Just think, as an animal you'll have a second chance to find a companion. But, even then, you must be careful; you need to choose a companion that is a similar type of animal to you. A wolf and a penguin could never live together, nor could a camel and a hippopotamus. That would be absurd." And original, as is this film, which was rightly prized at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

Reviewed by: Marcia Yarrow
Day and Boarding International High School in the Heart of Rome

Everything you need to know about visiting or moving to Tuscany, Italy.