The Lobster | 2015
In true surrealist fashion, there’s no explanation offered for the alternative reality where residents of a country hotel are given 45 days to meet and fall in love with a partner or be turned into an animal of their choice.
Yorgos Lanthimos’s fantasy, by turns darkly funny and grimly disturbing, offers a skewed view of our obsession with coupledom and the clumsy rituals of hooking up. Paunchy, bespectacled David (Colin Farrell, who piled on 40 lbs for the role) checks in and chooses to become a lobster if he can’t find the love of his life. Lobsters have a long lifespan, remain fertile and, what the hell, he likes the sea.
The strangely glum seafront retreat is Parknasilla Hotel and Resort, Sneem in County Kerry, on the coast of far southwest Ireland, about 50 miles west of Cork. In truth, it’s not remotely glum, but a luxury retreat in a rather beautiful setting on a picturesque inlet of the Atlantic coast.
Most of the hotel’s interiors, though, were filmed in the Eccles Hotel Glengarriff, Glengarriff Harbour, on the N71, about 15 miles to the southeast of Sneem.
‘Loners’ who escape before being transformed live in the surrounding woods where, perversely, they’re not allowed to form relationships. Far from adjoin the hotel, the forest is over 100 miles to the northeast.
It’s Dromore Wood Nature Reserve, Ruan Village, Ennis, about 20 miles northwest of Limerick in Co. Clare. It’s an area of almost 1,000 acres owned by the Irish State and which bas designated a nature reserve since 1985 because of the diversity of its flora and fauna.
The futuristic city into which the Loners occasionally foray, disguised as happily married couples, is Dublin. The heavily policed shopping centre is Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, a large suburb in Fingal, about six miles north-west of the city centre.
With horrible inevitability, once pairing-up is forbidden, David is drawn into a relationship with the Short-Sighted Woman (Rachel Weisz). Their stilted dinner date takes a slightly ominous turn when David orders nothing more than a fork and steak knife.
The is restaurant is Joels Restaurant, Naas Road, Newlands Cross, Dublin. If it looks strikingly modern, that’s because despite being built as recently as 1991, Joels was completely demolished, and rebuilt in an astonishing eleven-week period, in 1997.