Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Austin Stowell
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Gloria (Hathaway) is a barely functioning alcoholic and sometime writer who lives with her handsome British boyfriend in New York. When he tires of her behavior, he kicks her out, she decides to move back to her old home town to try to get herself together, and she falls in with an old school friend who gives her a job in his bar.
But when she starts to experience black outs at the same times that a huge kaiju attacks South Korea, she starts to realise that there’s more going on that meets the eye. How is she connected to the attacks on the city? What has she awoken in her life and her old home town?
It’s a small film, in that it focuses on feelings and humour, not action and fight scenes, but it’s beautifully realised. Hathaway feels like a realistic alcoholic without being annoying or unsympathetic and Jason Sudeikis as her old friend Oscar feels like a hapless romantic till you start to see the cracks and sense something sinister. Often darkly funny, and sometimes quite bittersweet too, it’s a film about control, about how we control or discipline ourselves, how we deal or do not deal with our larger emotions, and how we use our personal power over others feelings towards us to control them. It’s also about how we act up and act out when we don’t like ourselves. Which sounds kind of deep, but it’s also a film about kaiju, those giant creatures in films like Godzilla that attack and destroy major cities, but that also can be protective figures.
I really liked the premise of this film, and enjoyed the reckless path of the hapless Gloria as she fumbled her way through her life and relationships. The humour felt well balanced with the seriousness of alcoholism and destruction. I liked the way the film also slowly reveals things about the characters, like what they’re really like underneath, what their true intentions are and why it’s all happening. It’s not an obvious film in any way and explores things in an interesting way. I found myself really enjoying it.
See It If: you like your dramas a bit dark and destructive. Or with giant monsters. It’s an unusual but heartfelt film.