Olivia Colman says that her newest film — “Tyrannosaur” — is also her favorite. Chatting with senior editor Chris Beachum, she admitted, “the film means so much to all of us, so of all the jobs I’ve done, this is the one I want people to love as well.” The domestic drama marks the directorial debut of actor Paddy Considine. It just swept the British Independent Film Awards winning Best British Film while Colman claimed Best Actress and Considine took Debut Director.
The film tells the bleak, gut-wrenching story of two damaged people who come together as a way of dealing with their loneliness and despair. Olivia plays Hannah, a wholesome, kind and gentle charity shop owner barely coping with a violent and abusive husband (played by Eddie Marsan). Olivia’s co-star Peter Mullan plays Joseph, an unemployed alcoholic widower crippled by rage, who warms to Hannah as he hits rock bottom, but then in turn becomes her savior and comforter as the film reveals the true nature and extent of her misery and suffering.
Colman heard the stories of many abuse victims and says this, “informs your performance, in the back of your head, that it does happen and you’ve got to do it justice for women and men for who experience this every day.”
Considine allowed the actors the freedom to find their characters, “to make it your own, go where you need to go and we’ll follow you.” He only shot a few takes which she welcomed. “It’s a bit like lifting the lid off a pressure cooker; a bit of steam comes out each time so that by the time you’ve done take 15 you’re all like I can’t do it, no more tears left, I can’t remember if it feels natural anymore.”
Guy Lodge (HitFix) raved, “even before its wrenching climax, unlikely to be topped by any single scene of screen acting this year, her performance is achingly fragile” while Trevor Johnston (Sight and Sound) says, “it’s Colman’s brave, affecting and always in-the-moment performance that draws us in, allowing us to understand the sufferings of those women who find themselves on the receiving end with nowhere else to go.”