Starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, Colossal is a highly original and hazardous idea in terms of finding an audience for this Genre Buster. Some themes seem to blend together naturally like Sci-Fi and Comedy (Men in Black) or Horror and Comedy (Zombieland). This new film directed by Nacho Vigalondo takes on the unusual task of blending a dark character dramedy about the many forms of abuse with a giant monster movie. A Kaiju destroying Seoul, South Korea and a drunk woman in her thirties in the midst of a mental breakdown seem like unlikely bed fellows, but this odd tale manages to work delivering the audience a unique experience that is almost impossible to explain without seeing Colossal for yourself.
After a very brief glimpse of a mysterious creature to open Colossal, the film starts out rather simple considering its high concept plot. Gloria (Hathaway) is an out of work writer who spends most of her time these days in a drunken stupor. After her boyfriend Tim played by the red-hot Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast & Legion) kicks her out, she moves back to her childhood home in upstate New York. From there she begins to hang out with a former classmate turned bar owner Oscar (Sudeikis) who keeps feeding her inner alcoholic demons with his unlimited supply of booze. Then one day Gloria awakes from a blackout to discover a giant monster has attacked South Korea gaining the whole world’s attention. Things get even more strange when Gloria discovers there is mental link between her and the beast that may have to do with deep seeded issues she’s been dealing with for a long time.
Colossal‘s description seems like a tough sell for the average ticket buyer when you’re story involves relationship drama and city destroying monsters. For those looking for a film about monsters smashing buildings as the focus, you will most likely be disappointed in this motion picture. The monster is present throughout Colossal, but the big guy is more of a symbol representing Gloria’s behaviors and how she has let others affect her life. This creature feature deals more with abuse and the many forms it takes in people’s lives. The abuse could be mental, physical or even power-driven when someone wants to feel good about themselves at all costs. This is very deep and dark material for a goofy monster movie, but it totally works with the everyday drama surrounding Gloria and her acquaintance Oscar being way more suspenseful than a huge brute stomping helpless victims.
The major way Colossal pulls the audience into this weird film dealing with monsters, emotions and psychic connections is the excellent performances from Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis. The Oscar winner really turns Gloria into a believable loser who can’t seem to rise up to the expectations everyone has for her. Her character is hard to get behind at first thanks to her self-destructive attitude, but you slowly begin to feel sorrow for her when you realize what she’s had to deal with in her life. Sudeikis continues to show his range as an actor playing Oscar who has many layers to his personality. Without spoiling too much of the plot, Oscar will conjure up a wide range of feelings you will have towards him as Colossal unfolds and the mystery behind the monster is brought to life.
For those willing to give the unusual Colossal a chance, you will witness a deep personal journey about fighting back the forces that oppress you and dealing with the skeletons hanging in your closet. The strong acting from the two leads and the peculiar story telling involving monsters and personal power struggles will help you overlook the zany premise and unanswered questions. The absolute weirdness and risks Colossal takes help create a distinct and engaging experience you don’t usually expect in your monster movies or character studies.
Overall, I give Colossal 3 out of 4.
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