Colossal is a film from Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo, starring Anne Hathaway as Gloria, a girl from a small town that has been living in New York City with her British boyfriend Tim, played by Dan Stevens. Tim has become fed up with Gloria’s out of control drinking, and has packed her bags telling her she needs to get out until she can clean herself up. She moves back to her hometown where she quickly runs into her childhood friend Oscar, played by Jason Sudeikis. Oscar owns a bar in town and offers her a job. Around this same time, a giant monster appears in Seoul, South Korea. Gloria immediately feels a sense of connection and dread upon seeing the monster on the news. Later she takes Oscar to a park they used to play in as children and asks him to live-stream the news on his phone while they are there. As Gloria begins to move around the park, the monster on the news stream starts to follow her movements. There appears to be a direct link between Gloria and this monster and, it is later revealed, between Oscar and a giant robot that also appears in Seoul.
Colossal is, candidly, a very strange movie. It seems to be a larger metaphor for something, which is either somewhat over my head or with which the director is deliberately being opaque. In either case it seems to be a study in childhood trauma and its carryover into adulthood, with giant kaiju monsters (a la Godzilla) standing as a symbol of both childhood play as well as symbols of destruction. It’s also a film with an oddly whimsical, almost romantic comedy quality in the middle of its expose on alcoholism and lingering childhood pain.
It’s a film that I came out of feeling thoroughly befuddled, and it’s a difficult one for me to rate. I thought it was kind of clever, using kaiju monsters as a deeper metaphor relating to the human condition. At the same time, I was hoping for something that would be more of a straightforward monster story with less abstraction, and I can’t help but feel like there’s a larger metaphor here that I’m missing. After having some time to mull it over, I think that if it sounds interesting to you then you should see it but at the same time I don’t know that I can actually recommend it.
Rating: Two and a half stars
Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is an out-of-work party girl who finds herself in relationship trouble with her sensible boyfriend, Tim (Dan Stevens), and is forced to move back to her tiny hometown to get her life back on track. She reconnects with childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), a good-natured bar owner with a coterie of drinking buddies (Tim Blake Nelson and Austin Stowell), and resumes her drinking lifestyle.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a larger-than-life creature begins attacking Seoul, South Korea on a nightly basis, captivating spectators around the world. One night, Gloria is horrified to discover that her every move at a local playground is being mimicked on a catastrophic scale by the rampaging beast. When Gloria’s friends get wind of the bizarre phenomenon, a second, more destructive creature emerges, prompting an epic showdown between the two monsters.
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Tim Blake Nelson, and Austin Stowell
Directed by: Nacho Vigalondo
Written by: Nacho Vigalondo