Male and Female
If you go on the website for The Lobster, it has a wonderfully clever way of introducing you to the film, as well as what the film is all about. As soon as you enter the site, it will ask you a series of questions that will determine what second-chance animal you should pick if you do not find love. At the end of the brief quiz, you will be given three choices based on your answers. From there, you have to pick one, and that’s the animal you have to turn into if you do not find the right mate in forty-five days. From there, you can have a second-chance at love as a dog, cat, fish, flamingo, or whatever. My three animals I ended up with was a bison, gorilla, and horse. Of which one I decided to turn into, that is for you to find out.
This strange consideration of our sex life perfectly sums up everything talked about in the European satirical drama, The Lobster, with a call to revision on how an aristocratic society controls our path to satisfaction with a significant other.
What’s shocking is that this dystopian world does not look far off from where we are now. Considering our high expectations surrounding sexual preference and gender roles, filmmakers in Europe knew that it was time to make a psychodrama like this to depict how our revision of sexual stimulation will change in the next few years.
Within this future, we are put in the shoes of David, a loner abandoned by his wife who has become numb over time to light and noise. In fact, neither he nor anyone else in his life show any hint of feeling at all. A calming narration by a mystery woman tells about how he is left to live in a hospital with restricting rules: he can’t keep any of his personal belongings, he must wear one of their identical change of clothes, and within his forty-five day stay there, he must find love with another woman, or be turned into the animal of his choosing. In this case, he chose a lobster for its long lifespan. Whoever the narrator of this story is meant to be, by the film‘s final moments, the cruciality of the voice’s identity will become clear.
In this unsettling world, change for healthy relationships is initiated as they teach the men that they must be dependent on a lover, and the women are taught how their safety is dependent on a man. The staff even goes as far as punishing secret masturbators with a toaster to the hand. If there are any loners hiding out in the moss-infested woods nearby, they are captured by patients with tranquilizer darts and sent to the well-maintained seaside hospital.
The surreal nature of this motion picture feels complete with a disruptive baroque musical, creating a haunting beat you will never remove from your memory. It evokes the lack of apparent fear, making the peacocks and camels seen wandering the woods feel expectant. The only change of thought the characters ever express is when a brother-turned-dog meets an unfortunate fate, and a girl’s failed suicide attempt. It turns out though that creating a world without feeling generates all sorts of challenges for even the greatest of cinema artists.
While the characters certainly don’t feel much, neither does the audience. A motion picture like this one ought to show master over orchestrating the audience to feel what the character’s don’t, which The Lobster does not fully succeed at. It gets harder to keep up with everything as well with the second half, when everything becomes practically a different type of movie with new characters and a new setting.
But it doesn’t make The Lobster any less brilliant in its call to reconsideration of our own emotions. Director Yorgos Lanthimos makes it plainly clear how animals these days have a healthier concept of romance than we people do, as the turnaround of one man chained by unnecessary rules speaks to us.
Smaller independent feature films like this one prove how great the pressure is about finding love under a given set of rules. Today, social media and social correctness has turned us into a culture that already has established standards for how old you should be by the time you lose your virginity, how to have sex the proper way, how to tell when you’ve been “friend-zoned,” and how to treat somebody who has some other sexual orientation. There is so much confusion that has confused our true values of love and sex, that it has made it all the more confusing for somebody with autism.
This is not to say that all people with ASD or other mental disorders have a skewed view of romance, but many, depending on the severity of their condition, may not even have a concept of what sex even is. It reminds me of a documentary I watched, Life: Animated, where the autistic adult documented by the filmmaker is asked by his brother if he plans on taking steps further with his girlfriend. He attempts to describe the matter of sexual intercourse to him, but he has no clue what he’s talking about. This can be a pretty common thing for anybody on the spectrum.
I myself was never in that position to not even know what sex is in my early 20s. I have a very clear idea of what sex is, even if it did come to me a bit later than other kids my age. What really turned out to be difficult for me to understand was the subject of dating itself. While no junior higher or high schooler would have realistic dating expectations or standards, mine were less on keeping a relationship going and more on getting a relationship started.
Six-Word Lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome, Lesson #49: Relationships are Tough, Aspie or Not.
I first picked up a desire for a girlfriend when I was in 7th grade. But it was not because I had any friends worth dating, but more because there were some girls that I just found attractive. My attention was not on their personalities, just their looks. Where my autism started to show was the ways I tried to get the girls’ attention. I would mainly just do what other guys encouraged me to do, which consisted of playful harassing that I admit went too far. I never did anything illegal or worth a suspension, but my method of getting a girl’s attention would consist mostly of sneaking up behind her and startling her. I didn’t learn the error of my ways until later in 9th grade, when what I was trying to do wasn’t working.
My thoughts about dating did get a bit more realistic in high school, but it was more about me trying to impress some pretty girl based on whether or not she was a Christian. Up until the middle of my high school years, there were no girls I actually had any real attraction to. But then there was one who I developed some rather strong feelings for, one who enjoyed talking to me for who I am, and quickly became one of my best friends. Yet she was already in a heavily committed relationship with another one of my best friends, and throughout my senior year the pain was all I ever thought about. But the point of this being, this was the instant I genuinely fell in love with someone of the opposite sex, and I started a path toward a far more realistic expectation to romance.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #26: Will He Get Married Some Day?
To this day, I still have never been in a dating relationship, and it still frustrates me every now and then. But I can say that trial and error as well as meeting new people has taught me the way romance should work. Now, if I took another girl out to lunch, I’d pay for both of us. If a girl expressed a difficulty she was going through, I would go out of my way to make her smile. These types of behavior would never have even crossed my mind as a middle schooler. So what helped me to learn healthy dating?
My parents already went through nearly 30 years of marriage, so they knew how I could keep a woman satisfied. My sister is now about to get married this month, and even before then, she was able to give me pointers on what I should/should not do on a date.
I admittedly don’t know when or if I’ll get married, but it’s definitely been proven to be a possibility for people on the spectrum, so don’t get your hopes down if you see somebody with autism behaving poorly, it just means there’s lots of room for improvement.
- Do what you can to teach your autistic child early on about healthy romantic relationships. The best way to doing that is to work on developing a healthy marriage between you and your spouse. If your child sees two happy parents, he’ll see how that happiness is generated.
- If your autistic child is 23 and still doesn’t understand “the birds and the bees,” set time aside for the same-sex parent to have that talk with your child, using something he/she can easily relate to.
- This goes for anybody, not just those with autism: keep a keen eye out on healthy relationships. Not abusive relationships where one partner in the relationship is taking advantage of the other, one where each are doing equal share in supporting the other.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see reviewed, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
The Lobster. A24. Web. <http://thelobster-movie.com/>.
The Lobster. Digital image. O Cinema. Web. <http://www.o-cinema.org/event/the-lobster/>.