TORONTO – Monsters are having a winning weekend.
At the Toronto International Film Festival, the tear-jerking drama A Monster Calls held its gala Saturday afternoon, leaving critics teary. Early reviews were glowing for the story built around a powerful, tree-like monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) who evokes courage, loss and a link to the world beyond for a bullied 12-year-old boy whose mother (Felicity Jones) suffers from cancer.
Then there's Colossal.
The oddball sci-fi film is the riskiest move Anne Hathaway has made since winning her Oscar for Les Misérables in 2013. Since then, she has stuck mostly to studio projects like The Intern, Alice Through the Looking Glass and Interstellar.
In Colossal, directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Hathaway plays Gloria, a hard-partying, jobless New Yorker forced to move back to her quiet hometown after getting dumped by her irritated boyfriend (Dan Stevens). Lugging an air mattress back to her empty childhood home, Gloria connects with a high school friend, Owen (Jason Sudeikis), and they start to hang out at his bar. Suddenly, a monster starts attacking Seoul.
Gloria soon learns that at a 8. a.m. every morning, her movements are mimicked by the Gorilla-sized baddie, halfway around the world. (We'll try not to spoil the rest.)
If those plot points sound outrageous, they are. “The premise of Colossal would be hilarious even if it didn’t work so well,” said IndieWire. Many noted the film hinged on a grounded performance from Hathaway. "It’s my favorite performance of hers since, gosh, I don’t know when," wrote Vanity Fair.
After a long cycle of tepid superhero movies and studio-backed 'bots, we’ll say this – Colossal was refreshingly weird. This film is currently up for sale at the festival.