An epic monster mash-up
HIDDEN behind a dark curtain of hair, her raccoon-ringed eyes peering from under thick bangs, Anne Hathaway seems to be doing penance for the shaved head and gimme-the-oscar bombast of her award-winning turn in Les Miserables.
That movie plunged Hathaway – a gifted actress, comedian and singer – into a maelstrom of internet “hate”, which is cheery millennial-speak for irrational, misdirected (and often sexist) rage.
If Hathaway’s new movie, Colossal, doesn’t quiet the haters, nothing will. This clever mash-up of indie rom-coms and Japanese “kaiju” movies (think Godzilla and Mothra) presents an ideal showcase for the actress’s gifts for spiky self-awareness, slapstick physical humour and subtle changes in tone and colour that sneak up on viewers throughout a movie that’s never quite as simple as it seems.
Colossal opens with a scene inspired by those Godzilla/mothra roots, when a little girl in Seoul clutches her dolly to her chest while an enormous monster terrorizes her home town.
Cut to 25 years later, when Gloria (Hathaway) stumbles into her boyfriend’s apartment after a raging all-nighter. Clearly it’s happened before, and clearly
Tim (Dan Stevens) has had it; he orders her to pack her things, just moments before her fellow revellers pile into the front door to keep the party going.
Homeless and virtually jobless (nominally Gloria is a blogger, but it’s not clear how much work she gets done in between binges and hangovers).
Just how Gloria’s story intersects with the Korean preamble is a mystery best left unplumbed here, but Colossal’s writer-director, Nacho Vigalondo, does a graceful job of intertwining the two events with the perfect balance of credible realism and outright fantasy, along with nods to 9/11 and the ensuing voyeuristic age of the internet meme.
Suffice it to say that the monster returns, with deep ramifications for Gloria, whose bleary search for selfhood and vocation has the same awkward, world-smashing heedlessness.
Jason Sudeikis as Oscar with Anne Hathaway as Gloria in ‘Colossal’.