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One, revealed fairly early, is that his wife was not killed in a crash, as he told the boys, but simply abandoned them. The mother is not only alive but dying of cancer in a hospital, where 0,000 in medical bills have caused a lien to be brought against the farm: The Coates might lose it, after their decades of hard work.
They even think they know each other's secrets, but there are dark secrets at the heart of the Tully family which only the father knows.
There are certainly a few heartbreaking moments, and the film does take an unexpected dark turn in the final act, but overall, is a dark comedy. The overall premise is too silly to be taken seriously no matter how straight-laced and (intentionally) dry the actors played their parts.
In The Lobster we follow David (Colin Farrell) – a somewhat introverted middle-aged architect who’s just been dumped by his lady.
I imagine some fans of Dogtooth and Alps are worried about Yorgos Lanthimos making the transition to English-language cinema as it may compromise his style or just not “work” in the vein of Wong Kar Wai’s My Blueberry Nights or Park Chan Wook’s Stoker (I know those films have their fan-bases, but at the end of the day they were pretty disappointing when compared to the films that came before them). Reilly’s presence worried me because he’s starting to become a doofy caricature of himself more and more, which can distract from a film (there were definitely shades of that in The Lobster but Reilly was tolerable overall).
But rest-assured that Lanthimos’ dry semi-surreal fucked-up humor is all over The Lobster.