WARNING: DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE ON A DATE. Use extreme caution when seeing the movie on a couple’s date-night, and avoid completely if you happen to be angry at your significant other.
In fact, shy away from the film if you’re feeling positive and optimistic about the world and just want to hold onto that feeling for a while.
It’s a weird movie, people. A good movie, okay? but very, very weird. So weird, I’m thinking if you’re not an art-house movie lover, you’re probably not going to see it. Not to worry, cause I’m here with massive spoilers for one and all.
In the first place, this movie tries to make Colin Farrell look unsexy, so WTF?
In the second place, it’s hilarious.
Thirdly, like the best satire, it sticks the knife deep into everyone’s pretensions, then walks away leaving a high body count and enough gory tragedy for a greek chorus at the end.
The premise of the movie exposes the tyranny of society in its attitude towards singles:
In the near future, in a drab city landscape, all people who are single must go to the “hotel” out in the country side, where they will attempt to find a partner. If they do not succeed, then in forty-five days, they are turned into an animal.
Are you with me still? Colin Farrell’s character has decided that if he doesn’t find someone, he’d like to be turned into a lobster.
THE REST OF THIS POST IS MASSIVE SPOILERS!!!!
At the hotel he shows interest in three women: one of whom suffers excessive nosebleeds, another who would rather be turned into a pony than be matched with a man who might go bald in the future, and a third who is a sociopath.
The movie ridicules couples who get together – showing off their righteous preening, and yet as the hotel manager explains, if it looks like they cannot survive being alone together during the trial period, they’ll be given a child to help them stay together.
Farrell’s character, facing down a ticking clock, after being rejected by pony-girl ultimately chooses the sociopath. Farrell shares a room with her and his brother–who as a failed single is now a boarder collie. However she’s suspicious that Farrell’s not really a sociopath, and attempts repeatedly to prove it, in order to thus reveal that they clearly have nothing in common. She tests Farrell one last time by killing his brother–slaying the mild boarder collie one night in their bathroom.
Farrell is enraged. Although the sociopath tries to go on the hunt for him, he is the one who captures the sociopath, knocks her out, then drags her off into the room where people are changed into animals and does who knows what to her.
The narrator certainly doesn’t know. She’s played by Rachel Weiss and is one of a band of rogue singles who occupies the forest where they are hunted daily. Farrell joins their guerilla force, eluding the hotel guests armed tranquilizer guns. The singles who are brought down during the hunt are bagged and tagged and then brought back to the hotel. To be killed? Turned into golden retrievers? Who knows?
But the roque singles have their revenge. (This is so funny.) They go on special ops retaliatory missions where they invade the hotel at night, hold the couples at gun point, and get the couples to reveal relationship hypocrisies, as well as other petty lies, and betrayals.
Shockingly, there’s a rather tender love story at the center of all this anti-romance.
The moment Farrell joins the feral singles, he falls in love.
His feelings, along with the jealousies that arise as a result, are hard to control and place him in great danger, since all sex and love is forbidden in the forest.
Rachel Weiss is his love interest, and the movie goes on to show that as they forage in the city malls for grooming supplies, they work together as a faux couple to avoid capture with intuitive cunning. Effortlessly they project paired contentedness, falling madly in love as they do so.
All this is good, but of course there is a price to pay. The other single women find evidence of their attraction, and either jealous of Farrell or politically against anyone else being happy in love, they exact a brutal revenge, making Rachel Weiss their target.
Colin Farrell’s character nevertheless keeps trying to make the relationship work, as if he were a broody animal with an evolutionary imperative to do so, while his higher order brain is blinking DOOMED at the audience.
IT’S FASCINATING THAT THE MOVIE CHOSE TO HIDE 99.9% OF THE COLIN FARRELL MAGIC.
There’s a way in which Farrell is either a really good actor, or (more likely?) well directed. He plays his character in such an even way that we don’t really like him, but we don’t particularly dislike him either. Yet ultimately, I was pulling for the man. You cannot despise a character who falls in love, the way someone might be accidentally swept over a waterfall. He keeps trying to continue the romance in his life when things go badly, even though he is forced to recognize that his worst enemy is himself. The movie shows how he wants to sacrifice for his one true love—in a monumental way—but he’s just not feeling it at the moment.
At times this satire hacks and slashes with brutal awkward gestures. At times it creeps on velvet feet with devastating finesse. Ultimately it glories in exposing the inevitable betrayals committed in all relationships when push comes to shove.
WE LEFT THE MOVIE GUTTED
As an excruciatingly happy couple, my sweetie and I walked out of this movie a little stunned. He wanted to go home, draw the covers over his head and find a happy rom-com to watch as a sort of exorcism to remove the movie from his brain.
At the same time I ruminated on the finer truths the movie presented –acknowledging them–because I do believe that in any long term relationship there will eventually be some betrayals both small and large. I also believe that this ultimately doesn’t matter in most cases.
You have to look at excellent relationships (ones that are more than ten years old,) the way archeologists look at a 4,000 year old Grecian Urn. Yeah, it’s got a lot of cracks in it. So f***ing what? That’s the point: how something this fragile has survived for so long.
It’s a species of miracle, and should leave us in awe, rather than in a state of suspicious skepticism. Happy couples don’t necessarily lie to themselves about what’s going on. We see the truth–and then we make the decision to move on, even if it’s a little ugly. Happy couples know we’ve sinned as much as we are sinned against.
Also, some of us refuse to abandon our significant other when mistakes are made. In a crisis, some of us can do nothing but cling to each other like the good lobsters we are.
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Madeline Iva writes fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE, and her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, will be out Fall, 2016.