Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Colossal: Movie Review


Unique, interesting and entertaining.
If you have ever wanted to have a discussion about extremely self-destructive people, then you need to watch Colossal. A movie that’s more clever than it has any right to be. Gloria (Anne Hathaway) spends her nights getting drunk and then waking up in the morning (or afternoon) with a hangover unable to remember what happened the night before, and then rinse and repeat. Meanwhile there’s a giant monster terrorizing Seoul, South Korea. Interestingly, these two events are intimately connected. 2017

Directed by: Nacho Vigalondo

Screenplay by: Nacho Vigalondo

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis

Gloria’s boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) kicks her out of his New York City apartment after having the same argument with her over and over again. She’s unable to accept that her life did not turn out the way she wanted it to and now just resorts to drinking and complaining. Without a boyfriend, job or a place to live, Gloria returns to her small, New England hometown. Upon her arrival, she meets her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) who now owns his own bar, but is newly single and is simultaneously rejuvenated by and protective of her with her sudden reappearance in his life.

Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis in Colossal. Courtesy of Mongrel Media.
After this beginning (with excellent character set up) the film starts juggling a number of interesting themes. First, Gloria has now met someone even more self-destructive than she is, and the roots of Oscar’s dissatisfaction are extremely well done (it’s not going to be what you think or what Gloria thinks). Second, Gloria gets a job at Oscar’s bar where being an alcoholic is easier than it ever was, but then Gloria starts connecting the monster in Seoul to herself.

The film transitions from a character drama to a science fiction monster movie all the while maintaining the very real human emotions that Gloria and Oscar are experiencing as they navigate the restlessness of their lives. The reveal of the cause of the Gloria-monster link (not the reveal of the link itself because that occurs early on and remains interesting throughout, but the initiating event) can be argued as being overly cheesy, but that’s just one moment of science fiction. Everything else is about adults being adults, children being children, except their actions could destroy South Korea.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that no one has ever thought about combining Freaky Friday with Cloverfield, but that’s what Colossal has done. It’s unique, interesting, entertaining, but above all that it grounds a monster movie with real, very damaged, but relatable characters. I feel that I understand Hathaway’s Gloria and Sudeikis’s Oscar better than most other movie characters from the past year, and that’s what sets Colossal apart – it’s about people.
Best of 2017