The Lobster Ending Explained- Did David Blind Himself And Grim Satire
The Lobster is a surreal experience that sticks with you and knocks you back well after the question of David’s blindness is explored.
For fans of Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster is another in a long line of dark, ambiguous, and often grim stories. He is the kind of director you either love or hate. His type of movie isn’t for everyone. Dogtooth and The Killing Of A Sacred Deer are two of my favorite movies,, so you know which camp I fall into. They are singularly unique in styling and plot development. The Lobster is no different. It is a brilliantly developed, acted, and paced film that takes the absurd and makes it fantastically bleak. The film shouldn’t be as unsettling as it is. There is nothing horrorific about the visuals. A machete-wielding monster chases no one, and there are no jump scares. Regardless, it is disturbing and peculiar.
The Lobster is set in a world where it is illegal to be single past a certain age. It doesn’t matter why you are single. Your spouse could die, divorce you, or never find you. The only thing that matters is the clock starts ticking the moment you are single and of age. If you haven’t found a partner, you are sent to a detainment center filled with other singles for 45 days. You are expected to pair up or beast out, literally. Those who find partners move into double rooms in the hotel and if they survive they then porceed to yacht life for two weeks. If they stay paired they move back to the city as a couple and rejoin society.
The minute you enter the single hotel you must declare any allergies and sexual preferences. All belongings are surrendered. It is a reconditioning camp designed to pair up the confused and lonely. Once the 45 days elapse, if you still aren’t partnered up,, you choose an animal to become. David(Colin Farrell) is newly divorced and finds himself and his dog Bob(who used to be his brother) at the hotel. He has chosen a lobster to be turned into if he can’t find love within the 45 days.
Each day he participates in repairing activities that include going deep into the woods to find the singles hidden there. The Loners are a rebel faction that has rejected the notion of romantic love. It is forbidden, in fact. David decides to escape and joins the Loners. He forms a bond with The Short-Sighted Woman(Rachel Weisz), and as a result, they both find themselves on the wrong side of the Loners, who strictly enforce their rules. Punishment for breaking the rules is swift and barbaric.
The Lobster As Social Commentary
The Lobster is intensely satirical. Between all the couples pretending to be in love and singles catching singles, there is very little time for people just to be happy and find a genuine connection. It doesn’t stop with the idea of marriage being the prime directive, that partnership is forged based on nothing more than your defining characteristic. If you are red-headed, you should be paired with another ginger. Loud individuals should look for someone equally as loud. If you are a humorless toad, you better hope there is someone similarly unpleasant at the center when you arrive, or you are doomed to be a lobster, or dog, or whatever animal you chose. It’s all very superficial, just like swiping right or left based on nothing but a picture.
To make matters worse, if you are in a partnership but argue often, you are gifted a child to improve the situation. Any parent can tell you; children are a blessing but stressful. This is a world where life and happiness mean nothing. They are contrived notions created by the government and reinforced by society.
Both David and The Short-Sighted Woman share short-sightedness and, despite being drawn to each other, think it is only because of their shared trait. Symbolically, it works for David, who gets jealous for ridiculous reasons and how the couple identifies themselves. Unfortunately for our couple, they really believe they are well suited because of their shared short-sightedness and nothing more. Maybe in this world, no one can truly find love because society has so warped what love is?
When the Loners’ leader catches them, she takes The Short-Sighted Woman to improve her vision but instead blinds her. This, in effect, assures she will be turned into her animal of choice/die. She can’t stay paired with David because her blindness means they are no longer compatible, and she can’t continue to hide from the single hunters because she is blind. Basically, death was her punishment. That leaves David, The Short-Sighted Man, without his Short-Sighted Woman because she is now the Blind Woman.
Ironically, the Loner’s Leader denies her own affection for the hotel’s maid, bringing supplies to her in the woods. When she ordered the singles hotel attack, she forces a man to choose his own life or his partners as proof that love doesn’t exist. When he tries to shoot his wife, she proves that they were never in love. She is just as wrong as the partner-only faction. The only difference is her beliefs are based on jealousy and anger.
Do people actually become animals?
There is no way anyone becomes an animal. The process supposedly involves replanting the humans’ organs into the animal, thus becoming whatever you picked. This is obviously absurd as human and animal organs are not always(if ever) compatible. For example, David’s human brain is not going to fit in a lobster shell. Because this is a dystopian society, the singles are likely harvested for their organs. The arbitrary 45-day stay at the singles hotel can be extended by hunting down the Loners who live in the woods. The concept that removing excess singles by using other singles is absurd. It’s all just a harvesting system for partners who live in the city.
What happened at the end of The Lobster? Is David blind?
The film ends with the newly blind Short-Sighted Woman and David sitting in a booth at a restaurant. He contemplates blinding himself so they can continue being a couple. David has proven that he can conform to a number of social norms when it suits him. He briefly had a relationship with the Heartless Woman and behaved like an equally awful man until she killed his dog. His friend John asks David which is worse to fake a nose bleed to be paired with the Nose Bleed Woman or be eaten by a larger animal.
David, of course, says getting eaten is worse. While that is true from a purely utilitarian viewpoint, it is categorically false from an emotional fulfillment standpoint. It isn’t by chance that David picks a lobster to be turned into if he can’t find a mate. Lobsters can live for 100 years and are fertile throughout. They are also the kings of oceanic food. David is as superficial and self-serving as anyone, so those two things make it entirely possible he only pretends to blind himself, and because she is blind and wouldn’t know, either way, they could stay paired.
The meaning of the ending of The Lobster depends on if you are an optimist or a pessimist. Are you romantic or practical? The Short-Sighted Woman’s first words after being blinded are asking why not David? She’s scared and traumatized, so they could be a bad reaction to a terrible situation or proof that she doesn’t care about David as much as she says. David either makes a run for it, blinds himself, or lies about blinding himself. None of these options are good, but at least one of them proves he loves her. You can stream The Lobster on Showtime right now.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.