Lobster / Luggage / Love

The Lobster is one of the best films I have seen lately.

(Spoiler Alert) The film has three parallel universes. The city is only for the couples to live. Those that are single are then sent to a Hotel in the woods. They have 45 days to find a partner, or else would be turned into an animal. There are also the Loners, who escaped from the Hotel to avoid being turned into animals. Without the pressure to mate, the Loners are also stripped off the rights to fall in love.

The man of interest was sent to the Hotel after splitting with his wife. He subsequently fled to the woods to become a Loner. Ironically, it was there that he fell in love with a woman.

To fall in love at the Hotel is actually a bizarre pairing process of two people with the same defining traits. The traits can be having frequent nose bleeds, being heartless, having a limp, being short-sighted, possessing beautiful blonde hair, etc. Some traits are genetic, others just seem arbitrary. It’s like that old job interview question, “If others were to describe you with one word, what would it be?” Just imagine a girl answered with “nosebleeds.” How strange yet descriptive. At what point is a trait definitive of a person?

I guess we are conditioned to assume a more energetic and abstract answer, something along the lines of being motivated, or passionate, or hard-working. But do these abstract adjectives really convey more about a person?

I have no idea what my answer would be, because I have trouble finding one defining characteristic to describe myself. If I must, I have to pick the word “eclectic”, which is obviously a cheat. Nonetheless, the natural inclination for using abstract vocabularies – in my case, “electic” – to describe ourselves lies on the fundamental beliefs that we are complex subjects. The word “hard-working” hopefully conveys multiple meanings than the word “nosebleeds”. But it ultimately circles back to the question, does the abstract truly define a person?

Besides the identity luggage that comes with love, another compelling aspect the film has alluded to is codependency. The film obviously suggests that two people having the same traits do not necessarily get along, even though they are considered to be “in love”. The society imposes a system of codependency in romantic relationships. Codependency, simply, can be thought as excessive reliance on others for approval and identity. The identity in the Lobster society is bestowed upon any individual. Approval, on the other hand, is rooted in the form of living under the guidelines of the three parallel societies.

Perhaps I’m overanalyzing this all too much, but I’d like to interpret the film as a satire on the modern day codependency. Reflecting on my past codependent relationships – romantic or platonic, I certainly see that much involves me shaping my defining trait (or think of it as values) into something of others.

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