Jason Sudeikis and Anne Hathaway in Colossal.
Anne Hathaway is one of our best working actors, even when the parts don’t deserve it—think of her winking poise in Tim Burton’s messy Alice in Wonderland
; her relentless energy in the haggard face of Robert De Niro in The Intern
; her, uh, correctly enunciated line readings in the turgid Interstellar
—and she’s not been rightly challenged in a long time. Even her Oscar-winning role as Fantine in Les Mis
—speaking of messy, turgid and enunciated!—is only worth watching for “I Dreamed A Dream,” shot in extreme close-up, live. Not since Rachel Getting Married
has she had this many shades in her paintbox, though the late Jonathan Demme had much more control over his film than does Nacho Vigalondo, who mashes up downhome indie rom-com with Korean monster movie with variant results. In Colossal
, Hathaway’s Gloria is a barely functioning alcoholic who ends up back in her hometown working at the bar of her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). Also her alter ego is a giant monster stomping on Seoul every day at 8:05am EST. (The daily pain she wakes up with comes from life, as well as the occasional helicopter to the head.) Once Oscar realizes he has a monster ego too—Vigalondo is clever but not subtle—he uses it to threaten Gloria to stay in his life, because a literal walk in this American park can mean thousands of Koreans stomped dead. It’s pitched as a comedy, but once Oscar turns sour it all gets very sinister—this is what can happen when you reject a “nice guy.” There are many right-turns in this movie that starts out like 50 other indie romantic comedies, which is impressive (the creature design is also very indie rom-com, which is to say, not great). Hathaway is fierce, funny, pathetic and affecting, getting to access the full strength of her monstrous talent.