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‘Colossal’ (review)

Produced by Nicolas Chartier, Zev Foreman,
Dominic Rustam, Nahikari Ipiña,
Shawn Williamson

Written and Directed by Nacho Vigalondo
Starring Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis,
Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell,
Tim Blake Nelson, Simon Pegg

 

A mondo mash-up of Godzilla B-movies and “girl finding herself” indie sounds like a terrible idea for a film and yet it’s one of my favorite movies of the year so far.

In this instant cult classic, Anne Hathaway plays Gloria, a writer who can’t seem to find a job in New York City and would rather party with her equally irresponsible friends. That’s the last straw for uptight boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens), who kicks her out of his apartment after her latest screw-up.

With nowhere to go, Gloria heads to her boring old hometown, where her parents have a conveniently empty old Victorian home she can crash in. She immediately bumps into old schoolmate Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) who never left and now runs his dad’s old bar and he invites her to work at his bar. This is not a good idea for many reasons, including that Oscar has always had a thing for her, but Gloria is out of options, so she signs on.

During one of her infamous drunk blackouts, Gloria awakens to shocking news: A giant lizard-like creature has been terrorizing the city of Seoul, South Korea. Slowly, she recognizes some of the monster’s gestures as her own. Could it be…?

As Gloria tries to do the right thing (and not destroy a whole city), the film is a freakishly funny spin on the “learn and grow” trajectory of most Hollywood movies.

But just when you think the movie is going to become a monster-ized version of a standard romcom like, say, Sweet Home Alabama, where our heroine finds love and happiness in her hometown instead of the big city, it takes an unexpectedly dark turn.

Without beating us over the head, the monster becomes a metaphor for Gloria’s power — and the men who want to tell her how to live her life. Can she sort it all out and take control? It’s the oddest empowerment film you’ll see this year, but one that’s wholly original.

Even if Hathaway normally bugs you, she’s terrific as Gloria, who’s a remarkably likable mess. And count me in for any future Nacho Vigalondo films. And I’m going to go back and check out his first feature, Timecrimes (Los Cronocrímenes).

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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