Justin C., Here…
ZOOLOGY is the story of Natasha, an aging and lonely woman who recaptures some of her youth via a relationship with a much younger man. For all intents and purposes, it’s a story we’ve seen many times before, but with one key exception.
Natasha has a tail.
No need to go back and re-read that. You read it right the first time. Our protagonist has unexpectedly grown a tail.
Not a tiny vestigial tail à la Darin Morgan’s character Eddie Van Blundht on The X-Files, but a full-on monstrosity that would likely make Dirk Diggler jealous. It hangs well past her knees, making it important she keep it tucked away, especially in her extremely religious community, where a visible tail could mean only one thing: that Natasha has ties to the devil.
Did I mention that ZOOLOGY is Russian? So you should get ready for both subtitles and an old-world mentality.
In an effort to discover the origin of her new growth, she travels to the hospital, where she finds a staff that could not be more blasé about her fleshy addendum. Based on their reactions, one would think it an everyday occurrence. She also encounters an X-ray technician easily twenty years her junior, and the doctor/patient relationship shared by the two of them soon becomes something more, the result of which is all aspects of Natasha’s life being turned upside-down.
She cuts and dyes her hair. She starts wearing shorter skirts. And of course she sings along in the mirror to what one presumes is a Russian pop song while using the requisite hairbrush as microphone. She even goes so far as to finally “tell it like it is” at her job with the zoo.
Ultimately, Natasha’s tail brings with it the promise of love, but it may also mean the loss of both her family and employment. The question of whether it should be viewed as a positive or negative is one of many that remain unanswered at movie’s end. If you’re one for tidy wrap-ups, this might not be the movie for you. Or if you’re keen on stories with a sense of drive. Or if you’re turned off by the thought—much less the sight—of someone sucking on a giant animatronic tail. I’m not saying that happens in the movie, but it totally does.
My advice: catch up with the “Small Potatoes” episode of The X-Files or re-visit Boogie Nights.