The Lobster Movie Ending Explained
The Lobster is a strange and dark commentary on our society's disdain for single people.
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The Lobster Movie Ending Explained

So I was not a fan of The Lobster. And I get avant-garde, I love weird and different approaches to movie making. I really did think that The Lobster would be a slam dunk for me. But it hit a nerve for me that turned the nightmare factory into overdrive. Like, really really bad dreams. And I think I know why. (Trust me, I’ll get to the ending explanation here soon enough.) I grew up in a Christian home and participated in the evangelical christian sub-culture with all kinds of vim and vigor. All that to say, back in the 80’s there were roaming movie showings of something called The Thief in the Night series… and they were terrible. Terrible in every sense of the word. Here… this should give you a taste of the horror that was the Thief in the Night series. Regardless, watching the Lobster for me was much like watching one of these Christian 80’s rapture terror movies. Very very unsettling.

like really. really unsettling.

But that isn’t why I’m writing this post. I want to basically do an overview on the world of the Lobster, and then dive into the ending and what happened. Because I’m sure there are like a million of you hit the ending and were like, wait,…. wait,…. WHAT?! And I love “Wait, WHAT” endings, even when I hate the movies that contain them. So yeah, it goes without saying that this post is just for people that have already seen the movie. Ok? So here is a trailer to give a bit of separation between you and the spoilers further below. It may actually even entice you to watch the flick? Who knows.

The Lobster World Explained

Before we can get to the ending, I think we need to sort of talk through what the heck is going on in this world. It actually is simple enough. It is a crime, punishable by death (of sorts) to be single. If you were in a relationship, and your spouse dies, or divorces you, you are then sent to a hotel that doubles as a singles detainment center. Think of it like a rehabilitation center. Or maybe a detention center that works to rehabilitate single people.

While there, the single people are forced to participate in coupling exercises of various types. They are also subjected to Public Service Announcements about how terrible it is to be single. You might be raped. You might become depressed and commit suicide. Etc. While at this rehabilitation center they are also sent out to hunt the woods for random single individuals.

Who are these people they are hunting? Simple enough. As we learn when David, (Colin Farrell’s) character decides to make a run for it, the single people that are hunted are escapees that have hidden in the woods. These singles work hard to stay single and remain free. They also are punished quite severely when they do couple up as it is against their mantra and raison d’être. So when David hits it off with Short Sighted Woman (Rachel Weiz’s character) we know that there is some serious repercussions coming.

The Lobster As Social Commentary

Although I hated the movie, I loved the commentary, and what it says about our culture. Single people probably hate the condescension and belittling that all of society lever at them day in and day out. If you are single, you are a failure… right? Maybe society is getting better at not saying that to singles. But I doubt it. (I would love to hear from some of you older singles to hear if maybe it isn’t all that bad? But I don’t think we’ll get many even saying anything as they’d have to open up in order to even comment.)

So as a reminder to quit being a dork to single people, I really appreciated the movie. But the blackness of the comedy scared me physically senseless. Like to my core. No Stephen King book has ever scared me more deeply than this movie. Which brings us to the ending. In this world of singles trying to couple, and couples trying to catch singles, and singles trying to catch attempting couplers…. what was that ending all about?

lobster-ending-explained

The Lobster’s Ending Explained
One of the key details I intentionally skipped over was the idea of the “Identifying Characteristic”. In the movie of the Lobster Identifying Characteristics are used as Nom De Guerres or Nom De Plumes… they are how these singles are known. And it is these characteristics that will get you your eventual significant other. Right? So, if your identifying characteristic is a limp… then please, DEAR LORD, there better be someone else at the hotel checking in with a limp as well. “What about her? She has a limp”, “No, it’s just a sprained ankle, I already checked, it’ll heal.” Which makes quick work of the thickness of these dating sites and our own thickness when we match our single friends up. But you like X-Files… She likes X-files… what happened?

But these identifying characteristics were critical for our leads in that they were critical to their getting together while in singles land in the wood. These two both had Short Sightedness as their identifying characteristic. Which, plays an enormous part in the movie as it progresses. Not just in a spat of Jealousy for David, but also in how David and the Short Sighted woman identify themselves as a couple.

When the leader of the singles decides to take retribution for their relationship she does so in the worst possible way for the two. She takes Short Sighted Woman to go have her eyesight fixed. Right? Which is bad enough. But instead of just fixing her eyesight, which would have been nearly fatal to her relationship with David, she has the optometrist blind her instead. This does two things simultaneously. It ruins her relationship with David. They now have nothing in common. (See, that black comedy again.) And secondly it incapacitates her – which is critical in that her ability to survive the hunt each day will be nearly impossible. (As an aside, did you understand that the singles hunt the renegade singles? And when they are shot, they are shot with a tranquilizer gun, and then they are turned into an animal, right? You understood that was what was happening? I wasn’t 100% sure myself until I read more about the hunt after I finished watching the movie.)

Now we are coming to the pivotal moment – the ending. So the Short Sighted Woman is now The Blind Woman not the Short Sighted Woman. Then we see David (the Short Sighted Man) and The Blind Woman at a restaurant and David says to a waiter walking by, “Can I have a fork and a knife, not a butter knife, a steak knife.” He is trying to decide whether he should gouge out his eyes with a fork, or with a steak knife. Right? Before David goes, The Blind Woman tries to encourage him by saying how much more heightened your other senses will be, etc. And David heads off to the bathroom.

There in the bathroom we see David raise the knife to his eye, and the camera cuts away. And then we see The Blind Woman sitting and waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

Theories About the Ending of The Lobster
So what happens next? With this movie the options are super super simple. So simple in fact that Colin Farrell even spelled all three out for us in an interview this past June with Entertainment Weekly. I’ll let him explain the options, he does a better job with it than I ever would:

EW – “But…does he do it?”

Colin – “Honest to God, part of me thinks he does it. Then part of me thinks that when the camera cuts back to Rachel Weisz, I’m already in a f—ing Uber, heading down the road as fast as I can. And part of me goes to the third option.”

EW – “Which is?”

Colin – “That he doesn’t do it but he goes back to her and tells her that he did. There are so many different options.”

To recap, we have three fairly basic options on the table here.

Option 1. He does it. He gouges out his own eyes for love, and they make a life for themselves among the land of the couples finally. This is your Disneyland fairy tale option. This is the option for all you optimists out there. All you really really twisted optimists out there that is. hahah.

Option 2. He doesn’t do it… he books it as fast as he can as soon as the camera peels away. This is the option for all of us cynics out there, those of us that prize our eyesight above love. We are terribly lonely and cynical people, us Option 2 people.

Option 3. This one? This is the richest and most brilliant of options. Not only does he not do it, but he goes back and tells The Bling Girl that he did do it. That he did gouge out his eyes. He lies to her through her teeth. This is the sickest of all options, but the most clever of all three by a factor.

But which option is it? Which one did he actually do? Well, it sort of depends on your perspective on the world. But I have some pretty good evidence that causes me to think that there was one specific theory that wins out over the other two.

Remember when The Short Sighted Girl first learns she’s been blinded? She realizes what has happened to her… what does she say? She said something to the effect of, “Why did you do it to me? Why not him?” Remember that? I think this shows that this idyllic fairy tale, this wonder happy blissful love is flawed and failing. It reminds me of the relationship David had temporarily with Heartless Woman and how he played himself up as the cruel counterpart to her hostile self. He eventually is called out as a fraud and the relationship dissolves… with great pomp and circumstance.

Also, if it really was love, true love, wouldn’t she have said, you know what, sucks that it was me, but keep your eyesight, our relationship is bigger than the stereotype that society places on top of us and our relationship. Two very different people can be in love, and it doesn’t matter that our identifiable characteristic is no more. But alas, she holds him to it – this social (and screwed up societal conceit) contract that in order to be a couple they have to be the same.

And so I personally believe that David brought the knife to his eye, had a moment of clarity… realized she doesn’t love him anymore than he loves her. That he’d be better off without her, jumps in the nearest Uber and bolts. No? You? What do you think happened at the end? Are you an Option 1 guy? An Option 3 gal? Why? What did you see in this mind job of a movie that I missed with my eyes closed for half of it? Shout out your opinions in the comments.

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70 Responses

  1. greg

    i think he does it, for a number of reasons.

    first, the superficial reasons. it was his idea, he showed great commitment getting them to the diner, and already went through the moment of hesitation right before the cut scene, at which point he seemed well poised to execute his purpose, and resolved to do so.

    a slightly more comvincing reason is that the cut scene lasted a moment longer than a typical cut scene, leaving the viewer staring at pitch black before going to the blind woman. i took this to be symbolic for him going blind.

    the greatest reason gets into the issue of having to have a common defining trait. i thought this was a rather clever physically manifested (exagerated) metaphor for the common belief that in order for a relationship to be strong enough to last, the couple must have some core values in common. i could go on and on about all the aspects of this in the movie. however, sticking to the point, there is the moment when nosebleed guy talks about the pain being worthwhile to make the relationship work, then the main character gives in to this idea of faking it, and goes for the heartless woman, but he finds he can’t soften her and has to leave. still, it shows he’s willing to go great lengths to make it work. so i ask you, what is the most common way for couples to make a relationship work in real life? they choose to be blind together. of course, those marriages typically end in divorce, but it’s sadly true nonetheless.

    it makes perfect sense. the whole movie was a commentary on how hard our society is on singles. so what better jab to make than to point out what absurd lengths we go to just to be no longer single? you only have to open your eyes and look around to see all the couples that are fooling themselves into thinking they are meant to be by walking around, quite intentionally, blind.

    Reply
    • Taylor

      Greg,
      I can’t argue with a single one of those points. I think the biggest argument that he did it is that the movie is an absurdist diatribe against the insanity we put our singles through. If the movie stays true to form and it continues rolling for 2 more minutes? Or he does it in grand fashion. I mean, what other movie beats the crap out of a dog? Seriously??? That is an unwritten rule. Never, ever, let dogs die. Accidentally for sure… Actively?!? Never.

      I’m buying what you are selling Greg. This movie is such a complete mind job it can go 90 ways to Sunday.

      Reply
      • greg

        Wow – I take that as a high compliment, coming from you – thanks!

      • Shelby

        THE DOG SCENE. I felt physically sick. Even if it wasn’t his brother….W T F

      • Al Bundy

        Of course he didn’t do it.
        Besides the valid points in the OP, the biggest giveaway is in the end credits.
        The music stops and all we hear is the sound of the ocean.
        He chose to be alone and to be a Lobster.

    • Luke

      I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that the movie is a commentary on the absurd lengths couples will go to; effectively blinding themselves. However, I don’t think what “actually” happened is at all important. Humans are naturally curious and are often inclined to find answers, but this movie didn’t need them. It had already shown all it needed to without us knowing what he did. The act of holding a knife to his eye is all the viewer needed to see to get the message. I love it when movies or books do this, leave something out that is normally conventional to add (a complete ending in this case) when the ambiguity actually tells us more. I love not knowing, I love that the story and characters disappear and never give us the extraneous information we crave, it’s quite wonderful to embrace the ambiguity.

      Reply
      • greg

        Luke – I definitely prefer closure, but I agree that this movie didn’t need it. I also love movies that appear to be open ended, but actually are not. The director just requires the audience to think about it in order to come to the correct conclusion. Inception is a great example of this.

        I believe you are right about The Lobster in that it was intentionally left open to interpretation, though. I just personally think he did it.

    • Benjie

      Her eyes get better, he doesn’t do it, he goes to tell her he didn’t do it, she says she can start to see again, they go and fix her eyes at the doctor, they then go and live by the sea, hence the sea sound at the very end.

      Reply
  2. royce

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t watch the end. As soon as he left the table with the steak knife…….I quit watching. “Bada bing”.

    Reply
  3. Kate

    I was wondering (painful as it was to think of) if it was possible to stab yourself in one eye and then do the other eye. Like, first of all = PAIN. But then, it would be hard to see what you’re doing, right? I imagine he does go through with it, but I was hoping he wouldn’t.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Right! Like, so much so that should I just cobble together two knives to do it simultaneously?!? SOMETHING?

      Or maybe he should just book it out the door! hahahah.

      Reply
  4. Kate

    PS: Interesting to read elsewhere on your site that you are a Christian — me, too, and the journeys of the characters in the film got me thinking about faith and the afterlife. Specifically, it made me realize that the hopeful Christian belief of a heavenly afterlife for believers (even for single ones, haha) was in stark contrast to the bleak fates of the uncoupled characters in the film. In fact, you could compare the film’s worldview with that of Paul, who recommends being single — something that I have found the Church to do half-heartedly, at best.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Oh wow.
      I could talk on nineteen of these points you have made for hours and hours and hours. Yeah, Paul was pretty outspoken on this topic. “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” Right? But yeah, we completely disregard any and all of that.

      But look at the idea of divorce. Throughout the old testament the Jews divorced at will. And when Jesus was asked about it, he was like – Moses gave you divorce because of the hardness of your hearts. Which means they got it wrong for hundreds and hundreds of years. I think the church today is similarly wrong on how we treat singles… (and also divorce, but that’s another topic.) But Christians aren’t alone in this bias. The world at large basically shuns singles as being broken.

      I have a cousin that is single because he wants to get into China and other illegal areas to share the gospel, solely because he doesn’t want to endanger anyone else. heheh. I mean, that is a high calling. But dangit if he doesn’t catch a lot of crap about it. But welcome Kate to the party. Thanks for commenting and introducing yourself.

      Taylor

      Reply
      • greg

        Oh my gosh, I remember reading that line when I was (unfortunately) a sexually active teen. The one that got me was right after Kate’s reference (1 Corinthians, Chapter 7, Verse 8) “8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

        I was so confused, since I can’t understand how God’s word is saying (I’m paraphrasing here) that it is better to live life without sex. Well, if we all took that advice, which somehow might lead to a closer relationship with God (?!!), then humanity would essentially end with that generation.

        One more thing I’ll have to ask God someday, if I’m not too busy being blown away by how awesome He is and singing his praises.

      • Taylor Holmes

        Hey there Greg,
        That is funny awesome. Just my own 2 cents, definitely don’t think Paul was proscribing abstinance as a form of rule of any sort. He’s talking about those called to spreading the gospel or actively spending time working in missions. Or just to advocate on dedicating one’s life to something higher than marriage. He knew that most would marry, right. And in fact he was married once himself (members of the Sanhedrin were required to take a wife).

        But yeah, that is a fascinating passage that makes one think long and hard about what is really important.
        Taylor

  5. Kate

    My take is that the ideal is to be single, so you can totally devote yourself to God – whether in missions, or in a secular life, but focused on Him. But I think Paul knew that this was a very difficult thing for most people. But also that in marriage (and with kids) you can’t help but not be as focused on God as you would if you were single. In fact, in church, my pastor has talked several times about how when you’re married with children it can be very easy to just get all caught up in that – you’re so busy! – you forget about God entirely.
    I do think, according to the Bible, single Christians are supposed to be abstinent.

    In the movie, God was whatever entity was rounding up all the single people and making sure everyone was in a relationship = the state, I guess.

    That makes me realize that if the Colin Farrell character had NOT gouged out his eyes (!!) he would have had to start all over, and find someone else… that is, unless he was able to sit down with Rachel Weisz and say, “Hey, are you SURE we need to both be blind? How are we going to get home, anyway?”

    Maybe he thought he would either be blind or be a lobster.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Yes,
      The movie was harpooning this ideal that we have come to believe in. This happily ever after coupling that we think is real. They HAVE to be similar or else they can’t couple. And even fakes are found out and punished for their subterfuge. Right?

      So there is not an option for him to keep his eyes. The system won’t allow for it. The movie pushes the idea of this perfect symbiosis so far that it becomes hard to even watch. Which is the point. We believe in this happily ever after business so much that it is ruining us. We should allow singles to be single and we shouldn’t ever force them to find this “perfect mate” that is out there for them.

      When I was young, I literally believed in the ideal of one perfect person for me. Now that I’ve been married almost 20 years, I can PROMISE YOU it’s hogwash. I even went so far as to do the math on the likelihood of finding that “perfect someone” based on like 10 key characteristics. And I promise you it’s impossible.

      Regardless, I did love the black humor of this movie and the way they force the question that society is refusing to deal with. Which is, can singles POSSIBLY be normal? Or are they broken? heheh. Right? And its silly when said out loud, but dang if we don’t try our best to shove everyone into this mold we think is perfect for everyone.

      But yeah, if he ran… he was eventually going to become a lobster. If he stayed… he was becoming a blind and lost lobster as well. Right? He’s a lobster regardless. And his choice as a lobster is not a coincidence. He didn’t pick EAGLE! Which has perfect vision and is fleet of wing. He picked a blind, cold, dark, horrifying existence – which, he’ll have either way. My 2 cents anyway.

      Reply
  6. Moofveque Tique

    Playing the devil’s advocate, I don’t believe he does it. Instead, he goes back and tells her that he did it. Playing along with the vibe of the story, it ties back to the family with the incessant bleeding nose and John, which completes the elliptical arc that shapes the storyboard.

    Reply
  7. Jonathan Moore

    There’s also a 5th scenario..

    I wondered if she actually wasn’t blind, as there is a possibility that when the waitress refills her glass, she thanks her, recognizing that there’s a server there. Yes, it’s possible she heard the sound of the water in the glass and put 2 and 2 together, but I enjoy considering that she’s been planted to test his loyalty all along, sort of a “Romeo and Juliet” type of scenario

    Reply
    • Taylor

      Brilliant.
      Totally picking up what you are putting down here. Do you REALLY love me or are you just avoiding singleness here bub? And there is pecident for this in the movie – totally loving it.

      Only problem? He carves his eyes out? Next up, your turn dearest. But then the question is… DOES SHE DO IT! hahah.

      So great.

      Reply
    • Jsemj

      Yes I believe in the Romeo and Juliet scenario as well. In fact even if she was blind at the time it could have been a temporary situation we’ll just like the guns unloaded. He blinds himself and she gains her eyesight back. The Loner Leader seemed to expose the hypocrisy of the society they were a part of. Even the “singing” hotel managers were willing kill one of the others. Would the”nose bleed” couple survive the truth?There is no true love, yet this society in the movie is based on it. Hypocrisy… no masterbation… But your forced to dry hump. So they would fit quite nicely into the existing world order with him lying to her. It is quite popular today to say one thing and do another.

      Reply
    • Ben

      I’m almost fully convinced that she could see by the end of the movie. Her behavior in that last scene suggests it might be so. Otherwise that end scene was kind of drawn out and pointless.

      Reply
  8. Felix

    Right at the end of the credits there are sounds of the Ocean. . . this suggests that he didn’t cut out his eyes but left the dinner, got caught/choose to return to the hotel and was turned into a Lobster.

    Reply
    • Erik Howarth

      I noticed the ocean waves sounds as well, and came to the opposite conclusion. I too had been left wondering about the fate of his eyesight and of their relationship. But the waves made me think that they made it to Italy’s or Greece’s coast after all, which had been his destination in the movie. Plus the screen went black before credits rolled

      Now I’m wondering about your interpretation..

      Reply
    • Arthur

      Or. The sound of the ocean is in the background, because when you lose one sense, the others become better.

      And there is another version of the ending:
      They go to a doctor and he transplants one eye to her, so they have a thing in common and they both could see.

      *Captain flies away

      Reply
      • Vendelis

        Thats exactly what i thought when he asked what is her blood type

  9. Chris

    Personally, like with most movies of this sort, the ending is really of no consequence; the discussion that the piece evokes as a whole is. As a writer I constantly analyze manuscripts and plays, and I think it is obvious that The Lobster had no intention whatsoever of providing its viewers with any answer to the multitude of questions we are left with. And, what happens when there are no answers given… Duh, there is a long discussion that follows. This is called RESONANCE. The movie’s ending resonates well because it is so vague that a reasonable person can only sit there and ponder at its intent. And again, therein lies the irony of its intent as we type here in the comments page trying to decipher a puzzle that was never intended to be solved in the first place.

    Like with most art, each individual is going to subjectively get something different out of it. Can you grasp at the major themes? Sure, but trying to think up a definitive answer as to what happened in the end is an utter waste of time. We will never know. The piece pokes fun at the absurdity of relationships, the extents we will go to be in them for the sake of convention, and the horrid truth, that when push comes to shove if we must choose whose going to suffer, me or my partner… well, a pragmatic person chooses their partner every time because guess what, we are all in essence STILL ANIMALS. This is shown time and again in the piece: when the hotel owner who rates his love for his wife at a fourteen out of fifteen yet chooses to pull the trigger; when the short sighted woman yells, “Why didn’t you blind him instead?”; when the leader of the loners pushes her trustworthy friend in front of her in order to restrain the short sighted woman.

    Survival trumps relationship, but here is a world where relationship equals survival. When relationship no longer equals survival (and in fact, being single equals survival with the loners) we go back to survival but the status/need of being in a relationship is still ingrained into our being out of convention. Oh what a tangled web we weave. Ultimately, the wisdom I garnered here was that no matter what type of relationship you are in, eventually you sacrifice some shred of yourself for the sake of keeping said relationship in tact. One might even go so far as to claim it isn’t the relationship between two people but our relationship with how society views us that we are truly making that sacrifice for. After all, if Colin and Rachel’s love was pure, they’d be able to see beyond the absurdity of social convention; Colin would have no need to blind himself and Rachel would never ask him to do that for her. Why must love be so complicated?

    Reply
  10. L

    He couldn’t do it…the title of the movie explains his fate…the sound of the ocean a fitting end. I didn’t like this movie…watching it made me think about how often we choose to do things which can end up wasting precious time…there was nothing of value to learn from this POS movie…not entertaining at all…the dog scene was horrific. The ONLY funny thing about this weirdly so-called “comedy” is a person choosing to become a lobster.

    Reply
    • Tweet

      You know as simple as this statement is, I actually see this as being the truth. I was reading all of the comments looking at how things were received from people’s different pov; and when I got to your comment, I realized….we as humans have a need to INCESSANTLY dissect and evaluate things so much, that we fail to see/believe what’s in front of us. Is that another stigma of society? That everything has to be challenged? Debated? No matter what happened in the movie, in the end he never found love. He was hopeful though! Put anyone in a atmosphere of similar circumstances and if theres a attraction between the 2, LUST WILL FORM…..Infatuation. But infatuation has a limit. And he realized that. It’s a shame that people are being punished for not conforming…..

      Reply
  11. Poppy Davis

    You asked if any content singles would speak up. I was single and depressed, then single and trying not to be, then gave up, then content. 5 years this process happened. Then I met my husband.

    About the ending… there are obviously so many more possible endings than 3. I would like to think he didn’t go through with it and understood true love instead. He walks back to the table and tells her, convinces her of his love and hers, and they become an odd couple. Call me a very, very silly optimist. Which is odd because I think of myself as cynical or at least rational.

    I loved the movie but it took me forever to figure out the allegory.

    Reply
  12. L

    In hindsight, and after having more ideas burble up since watching The Lobster, I no longer feel this movie is a POS. Because of all the varied comments, each differing in perception, I now respect the “art” of the movie; what it evokes despite the lunacy, absurdity. I didn’t like The Lobster’s stoic world, disturbing scenes…but do like and appreciate the many perspectives contributing on this forum…a hallmark of a good movie.

    Reply
  13. Chuck

    He didn’t do it, and turned into a lobster. As mentioned, the ocean sounds at the very end give the final clue. But as he is heading to the bathroom, the toilet sign is in red, indicating danger/death. Further ahead, is the exit sign in green which signifies life/freedom and the way they indicate exit is a picture of a man running. While he does end up in the men’s room, he turns where the exit sign is. To me, this signified his exit.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      After all…
      the movie is named the Lobster, not the HAPPILY MARRIED MAN! Hahahah. I agree Chuck. I think you nailed it.

      Taylor
      Ps – merry Christmas.

      Reply
      • Chuck

        Taylor!
        You have a great website and I love that it provides a forum for people to share their insights and views into the intricacies of film.
        The Lobster strongly reminded me of one of my other favorite movies, which is Logan’s Run. So, going back to the washroom sign in The Lobster that had a man running to indicate exit, David was a “runner.” In such, Logan was also a runner.
        Have a great new year!

      • Taylor Holmes

        THANKS CHUCK!! Such a happy comment.

        The more I read these comments that you are posting here – and the more I think about that ending… the more I really do think that he chose not to gouge out his eyes. And he chose to live a single life as a lobster at the bottom of a sea. I mean, it is called The Lobster after all. Took me long enough to come to a conclusion on my own. Phew.

        Taylor

      • L

        I, too, came to the same conclusion about the movie because of its title, The Lobster; it is a huge hint of what the main character ended up as.

        This movie was indeed like a nightmare; bleak and otherworldly. It is fascinating to read the many comments based on what each person knows in their own unique margins of perception and how any resemblance from this movie was relatable to the world in which we live in. It’s also impressive and a relief no one has trolled anyone’s opinion! Truly, the beauty and strange anger of our world is that we all see things differently based on what we know…or think we know lol.

        What I initially thought of this movie was how it couldn’t really follow a pattern or relate to the reality in which we live. It’s challenging in our own here and now but much worse in The Lobster.

        Logan’s Run was a futuristic society in a dark existence much like The Lobster; however, it was produced during the time of other films like Solient Green which depicted futuristic populations impacted by the need of food provisions. Those two earlier movies placed a hierarchy on the necessities of life and how more or less population affects where love and a life partner fits in.

        There’s irony from the many commentary contributions making our lives all the more opposite of The Lobster’s existence whereby someone will approve and disapprove of the opinions given–which is very much like what we do in this world in finding a mate, friend or place we feel we belong or feel comfortable.

        The Lobster is a stoic world on all levels; devoid of rationality. It’s that nightmare we awake from and are glad was only a dream.

        I’ve commented more than intended over a movie not particularly liked but in which there’s a symphony of commentary to read that is of more depth and meaning.

  14. eureekasprings

    I won’t repeat all the interesting things that were said…I’ll just say that I have really benefited from all of you sharing what you got from the movie & agree with most of what I’ve read here today.

    One thing that hasn’t yet been mentioned is that determined singles were just as unaccepting of any coupling in the single world as couples were unaccepting of singles in the couples’ world. Neither side was truly free, since there were essentially strict societal rules on either side. For example, look at how those who tried to move on from single life were severely punished. As a single person, I can tell you that, sadly, it can feel like a betrayal when yet another friend settles down, since they tend to fall off the face of the earth. We tend to want others to fit into our lives so we can celebrate the lives we’ve chosen with them. Consequently, there was simply no place for those who didn’t fit neatly into one of the two categories, & the tragedy was that our pair of “lobsters” was the only couple who appeared to me to be really content with one another.

    Fascinating.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Made him hack?!? Oh my gosh. And I thought that The Lobster was the pinnacle of dark cinema. Daggum. Admitting it, dying to see it. Love dark noir weirdness and deciphering the chaos. Can’t wait. Didn’t see a target release date. Would love to know generally when…

      Reply
  15. Yeboi

    I actually think he kills himself. This is for a number of reasons.
    1) throughout the whole entirty of the film the idea of death is presented as being inevitable and at times even a third option. This is shown through the woman who (spoilers!) throws herself from a window (though the fact that this fails at first further displays that its not that simple) and the murder of his brother. Its also shown through the use of graves in the film, with the metaphor of him “digging his own grave” being just as blunt as the dialouge in the picture is. Another in the many key examples of this would be the horrible woman he is with and how he wishes to use a longing for suffering to impress her.
    2) Another reason lies in the cinematography. Being a bit of a film buff, I really enjoy when movies use unique shot progressions and displays (and this movie made sure to let you know that it was doing this from the beginning). Now- the reason this is important is because clues are scattered about the film for this (though ill only talk about the key few at the end). It is very important to note that in the shot of him walking into the bathroom all of the answers are revealed. First off, the exit door and an exit sign are center frame- indicating importance. The bathroom is also off to the right, meaning that he has to enter the right side of the shot in order to carry out his actions. In accordance with stage direction, this means that his actions and intentions are difficult, thats also why he is consistantly face right as opposed to the left (and could also be why the right side of the bathroom screen was dark- this could possibly indicate fear because it is in contrast to the left side which is normally associated with hope and goodness). In the shot where he is holding the knife to his face, it is very interesting to note that the knife has to come from the right side of the screen, meaning that it is nescesary that he carry out the action and that it is dreaded. Now, the only question alongside all of this information is “what were his intentions?” and this is where the information begins to muddle together. Near the end we see him sitting and acting in the middle of the frame facing right. The choice to place him on the left of the table is powerful because it displays that she is what is driving him to do what he feels like he must do. We can tell, however, that by trying to see her features for a last time and shoving the paper towel into his mouth (not to mention all of the knife stuff) that he will never see her again (meaning that he cannot be lying to her about his sight, leaving only the few possibilities remaining).
    3)The final long shot of her waiting is also vital to understanding that he does not return to her. Now- it was not uncommon for the movie to show long shots of waiting characters but it is important to note that the characters are never left waiting like she was at the end. The fact that she was left waiting is a key indicator that he did not return. This gets rid of another ending- meaning that he is left with either the choice to kill himself or leave.
    4) Now knowing that he had intention in the face of difficulty we can now see that he actions were not of cowardice, regardless of which of the final routes he chose. Though, I will say that with the last two options I believe the final- unseen option of him killing himself is much more in style and tune with the films dark humour. I say this because the protagonist in the film is one that has chosen to run away in the past, but is reminded consitantly that regardless of his chosen route he will die. Now, having picked the route of escaping to the city he is left with an inevitable death. Whether he sees death as an escape or a nessesity it is clear he chose it because it was a nesessary end.
    5) by saying nesessary end Im of course reffering to a few things. The first being how the Lobster mating cycle even works and how that plays into the film. Now- when Lobsters mate the mate in a way reffered to as “Serial Monogomy”, meaning that they have a mate for a bit of time until something happens (such as death) or the female lobster grows back her shell and leaves to find a new mate (as shown by the beginning of the film where the woman who likes biscuits goes out and kills a donkey. We can presume that this donkey represents her gaining independance).
    6) Now, when talking about the endings of pictures people always forget about the beginning. In the beginning of The Lobster we get to see a shot of a woman shooting a donkey dead (who in this world can be assumed a former human) and the protagonist on a chouch, being informed that a man who wears glasses exists by a woman. Now, I argue that this is the voice of his former wife, and that she left him for another man with the same key characteristic. Not to mention an already heavy emphasis on eyes and the fact that we never see the former wife.

    I do think that it is funny though that the film operates in the way it does. Im sure there are more reasons why it is shown that he killed himself at the end of the film, but these are just a few key ones I noticed. I guess Im saying that what Im thinking happened is a poetic way of saying that he found his final mate, and that by killing himself he ended the cycle that lobsters go through. Not to mention that that sort of simple end perfectly suits the style of the film!

    Reply
  16. Steph

    What if there was a fourth option? What if he goes to do it but through the pain went through his eye. What if he died on the bathroom floor cause the scissors went through his head? He had a mouth full of paper towel. No one to here him scream. It could be ages till someone goes to the bathroom she didn’t look like she sat there that long. What if in the end he just dies.

    Reply
  17. nzo

    option 4
    he goes back and tells her he couldnt do it but loves her anyway
    he ll need those eyes to be able to take care of the both of them

    Reply
    • Cheri

      NZO, Your Option 4 was my thought as well. I like a happy ending where love prevails. They should be able to find another common trait. However, it was not that kind of film. I don’t think any couple in this film would live happily ever after. Remember the man in the hotel who proclaimed his love for his wife, but when pressed, said that he could survive without her, but she could not survive without him. And he was ready to shoot her to save himself. All the characters seemed to have that out for themselves attitude.

      Reply
  18. Tania

    I think it is not important at all if he did it or not. What matters here is how STUPID and CONDITIONED we are, living in a completely FAKE society where nobody is able to live without romanticism. Get married, fall in love, have children, fall in love, have a partner, fall in love…endless stupidity of conditioned beings.. all this have absolutely NOTHING to do with what we call LOVE.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Hazzah!
      Totally agree. It is the bigger point that the movie is trying to make, you are correct. This system that we live in and beaten down by. Reminds me of David Foster Wallace’s graduation speech entitled “What is water”, you should look it up and read the speech word for word. It’s brilliant. Here, I’ll snip in the bit that is

      “There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”

      The point being, we cannot see the social mores and framework that has taught us, forced us, beaten us into a mold and a shape that defines living. What’s interesting to me is just how invisible these rules are.

      I’ve always wanted to write a time travel short story that spoke specifically to this detail. Right now, you and I Tania, are engaged in something that could have gotten me killed a hundred years ago, but we don’t give a second thought today. It was thought improper at best, or tantamount to rape, for a man to even say hello or make a comment to a woman without a proper introduction first. Seriously. Just wasn’t done. But today? This is nothing. It’s less than nothing. My point simply being, that we are defined and transfixed by these rapidly moving and changing mores that define us more than we even realize.

      What is water?
      tay

      Reply
  19. Tracy

    Agree that the actual ending does not matter and the film is a commentary on the absurd nature of relationships, and singledom. The title “The Lobster” does show that he is a lobster regardless of the outcome (whether he remains a person or actually becomes a lobster). He is blind throughout the film just as they all are due to societal constraints and conditioning (love the water metaphor mentioned above). Also, when analyzing the ocean sound after the final scene keep in mind there is also a clapping portion which indicates there is a success (according to the film’s societal notions) — such as a successful union of some sort. The ocean sound cannot be analyzed without considering the clapping sound. Movie was thought-provoking and sad…a kind of dystopian look at the inability to achieve (or maintain) real love in our constructed world. The movie is one view and it is a relevant view. I like to live my life considering all the options and, yes, I do believe in love. We do not live in a universe of endedness — all options are out there.

    Reply
  20. M.S.

    So…at the start, when David’s wife leaves him… what happens to the wife? Did she find someone else or will she end up at a hotel too?

    Perhaps this is a commentary on how humans try to find some connection (love?) as a reason to couple….and apparently over 50% of marriages fail. How about those arranged marriage cultures? Do they have the right idea…couple first, then work towards making the relationship work?

    I think at the end, he left. The camera made a hood point of making sure we noticed the highway and all the cars in the background.

    Reply
    • Ed

      His wife left him for another man.

      The first line of the film is David saying “Does he wear glasses or contact lenses?”. Once you see the rest of it you understand the context – David and his wife had short-sightedness in common and therefore he knows or assumes that her lover must be myopic too.

      Reply
  21. CarlB

    I have been placed slightly on the autistic scale, not very far along but enough where logical and factual data affects my thoughts more. The first thing I think of is the story progresses linearly with no hint of doubt during the restaurant scene hes bound to the destruction of his sight. The problem is hes not knowledgeable enough to determine how much pressure and depth he needs to go to just take out the eye and not enter the brain. I was also getting the feeling that he was about to position the butt of the knife on the mirror and force his head onto the point, maybe even doing it in a swift motion. thus the only thing I could see as an outcome was a quick death on the bathroom floor. Now he might have made it long enough to be found and emergency services be called, but since he used up his time at the hotel and is a fugitive automatic Lobster. So she would have been left alone at the table and eventually the police would be called to detain this “single” woman and she would be taken to the hotel or animalized immediately too

    Reply
  22. EllieM

    Carl B, I like your idea that he has been caught and is being turned into a lobster, hence the prolonged waiting scene.

    I kept thinking we were going to see David through the window behind her at some point.

    Although I DO think it is clear that she was definantly made blind, a small part of me wondered when we see blind woman waiting at the table as she turns her head towards the waiter and then the window if she could see; if David returned to her pretending that he had blinded himself, would she continue to pretend to be blind or call him out? I can imagine in this world that they would be so desperate to be a couple with something in common that they would both continue the lie of being blind to each other and the rest of the world for the rest of their lives.

    Reply
    • Annonymous

      Seriously…fuck this movie. It gave me an anxiety attack because it hit home so hard. If i knew this was a psychological comedy I would have never watched it.

      Complete mind job.

      Reply
  23. Sam328

    My takeaways from the movie:

    People discriminate against others not like themselves. There are three groups of people in this movie–loners (live in the woods), prospective lovers (live in a hotel) and married couples.

    The prospective lovers go on hunts to tranquilize loners, bring them back to a hotel and turn them into animals. The loners sneak into couple territory to make the couples doubt their love, wrecking their perfect relationships.

    For relationships, each prospective lover looks for someone with the same physical or mental flaw as they have themselves; so they can become couples.

    Three reasons why I think David made himself blind:

    1. The mouthful of paper towels w/ knife to his eye.
    2. Fade to black at the end of the restaurant scene.
    3. Sound of the ocean where the short sighted woman (Weisz) was camped out at, after she was blind.

    Reply
  24. Bethany Rosen

    she is left alone in the restaurant , and is rescued by a good Samaritan who brings her to a blind man and they become a couple, they dine in restaurants daily because neither one can cook. One day while dining in a new establishment, they order….wait for it…..the special of the day, Lobster..It tasted vaguely familiar.

    Reply
  25. LeahO

    He doesn’t become a lobster. After leaving her behind at the restaurant, he is eventually caught and is turned into “the animal no one wants to be.” When singles run, they don’t get a choice as to what animal they become. They are punished by being turned into undesirable animals. I think he is the donkey that is shot in the beginning of the movie.

    Reply
  26. Aimee

    Just another thing to make this more uncertain, Lobsters are blind.

    So I think he does it. And in that sense becomes the Lobster.

    Reply
  27. Shells

    But it’s very obvious at the end that SHE CAN SEE. And she doesn’t stop him. Whether or not he does it is beside the point. Doesn’t seem to be any unconditional or “true” love in this movie.

    Reply
  28. Wes

    The Lobster was a film I’d had in my IMDb Watch-list for several months prior to getting the chance to see it. Wish I’d known the man responsible for directing “Dogtooth” was also the one conducting this torturous symphony.

    Ugh…what an ugly, disappointing film. Nearly 30 minutes passed by before I realized nothing of interest was going to come of this (despite that cast, despite the premise.) Much like “Dogtooth” there’s an interesting story to be told; not only doesn’t that happen in an entertaining, thought-provoking way it defies moving in the general direction of “Hey, now we’re getting somewhere.”

    There are no surprises, here. There is no humor, not even inky-black. No-one in this cast shines or stands-out (I get they live in a dystopian society, but come on; even a robot can have a personality or make us feel empathy for it.)

    There are two factions, neither worth belonging to. Shot by both sides, so to speak. No problem there; leaving one bad situation to find the other’s just as bad is life in a nutshell. It’s the way it was presented:

    Pointless slow-motion shots, pointless conversations that lead nowhere, a McGuffin concerning being turned into whatever animal you choose which smacks of lazy writing, icy acting (male and female) which added to the feeling of torpor and savagery, and again NO surprises or unexpected happenings.

    John C. Reilly’s character didn’t have a lisp that I could discern; the heck was that about? Ben Whishaw’s keeps giving himself nose-bleeds; he’d have gave himself concussions by the end of the 1st day. Colin Farrell was married before;why would anyone think he wouldn’t be again, unless brought to that creepy place?

    Lots of stupidity and coldness in this over-rated clunker. As for the ending, it’s no different than “Who poisoned the coffee in The Hateful Eight?” Who cares; everyone was a low-life or criminal or despicable in that room so what did it matter? Same goes for this instance: she can see, she can’t, he blinds himself, he flees out the bathroom window; what’s the difference? Everyone fails Humanity 101 in “The Lobster” and it’s not a question worth pursuing.

    Do yourself a favor: Watch “Intermission,” “In Bruges,” “Ondine” for Colin Farrell vehicles worth your time. This one’s just a sludgy drudge through cold mud.

    Reply
  29. Bud

    There are really infinite options but a fourth option:

    :: He goes back and tries to convince her that he loves her regardless of whether they have a similar trait and they are both better off if he keeps his sight and he will stay with her no matter what.

    And by the way, yes, being single over 40 really really really sucks. I have trouble shedding the societal pressures. I have trouble even realizing the pressure is coming from society and not from within.

    Reply
    • Ed

      Nice idea, but unfortunately totally at odds with both his character and the whole world of this movie as a whole.

      Reply
  30. Dre

    Im going with option 3.
    Lobsters are blind, and he escapes from the hotel. So, he doesnt want to be a “lobster” (blind).

    Reply
  31. Ed

    I think the possibility that did it but died as a result of his injuries is a strong one.

    Of course the ending is ambiguous and presents numerous possibilities and in so doing causes us to dig deeper into the motivations and attributes of the characters as well as the broader meaning of the film.

    But when visiting the loner leader’s parents he says he would “literally die for her”. And with the other repeated references to death throughout I tend to think that’s what he has tragically done.

    Reply
  32. Monika

    I agree to you… I’m not sure which of the last two options does he choose..but it is sure by what you stated… And the fact that the short sighted lady wanted to get rid of their common trait ‘short sightedness ‘ at the first place…a thing that could have proved fatal for their relationship.., proves that the relationship was already impure, and honestly it’s kinda heartbreaking if the main character falls for someone who’s love for him is impure and selfish and that he gets himself blind, in fact I really was looking forward to an ending where he paired up with the leader of the loners, I really feel on some evidences that she had feelings for him and deserved him better… And probably the reason why she was jealous and why she blinded the lady and not him , atleast she didn’t deserve to be left out to be eaten by dogs, the part where I was totally against David

    Reply
  33. GaryC

    Hi Guys.. i had a random observation of the film during it and all ur comments are brilliant! I dont think anyone has touched on this.. where are the homosexual people in the hotel? Why must they choose one way or another? Why didnt John C. Reilly choose the lady who gave him butter biscuits, their commonality and would have fulfilled him sexually, instead of masturbation? Was he afraid of being homosexual as he seemed happier in male company in the film?

    So in this where were all the homosexuals? If David had admitted his homosexual tendency would he have been changed to an animal unknowingly?

    Similarly does the director allude to this in the Leader of the Loners character.. i detected flirting and attraction with the maid of the hotel, the only affection she portrayed.. she then preferred herself and all others to be single than admit her sexuality and forced this upon those outside of it to do the same.. Possibly a probe at the unacceptance of people in society and the traditional feeling (in Ireland where I am from anyway) that people who are single must be homosexual or odd!!

    Just to add another dimension to the craziness this film has created in this forum!

    Reply

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