There are times we may all turn a little monstrous, but rarely does it have the effect that we see in the new film Colossal. The movie, from writer/director Nacho Vigalondo, offers a unique perspective on the monster movie trope.
The film stars Anne Hathaway as Gloria, an out of control party girl whose life is spiraling out of control thanks to her partying, who is eventually called on it by her well-intentioned boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens). With Tim tossing her out until she can get her life together, Gloria makes a half-hearted attempt to get her life together by leaving New York and returning to her small town home, where she moves into her empty childhood home and soon reconnects with childhood pal Oscar (Jason Sudeikis).
Oscar has remained in town, taking over the bar his father once owned and is seemingly enchanted by Gloria’s big city life that she carved out after leaving town. Unaware of her issues with alcohol, he invites her to his bar and eventually offers her a job while introducing her to the regulars – Joel (Austin Stowell), the handsome but a little dim good guy and Garth (Tim Blake Nelson), the wise-cracking regular with nonsensical stories. It’s not long before Gloria is hanging with the trio, her old habits resurfacing. But when she wakes from a long night of drinking, she learns of a giant monster attack on Seoul, South Korea. It’s not long before Gloria spots the monster mirroring some of her movements from the drunken night before.
Eventually Gloria figures out that the monster has a tie to a nearby playground she and Oscar infringed upon while they were kids and after sharing the discovery with her new friends, the set up for the rest of the film is now complete. But what seems like a comical premise that could run dry fairly quick does not, and it’s due in part to the storytelling taking things in an unexpected direction and the strength of the performances of the cast.
The monster revelation has its most significant effects on Gloria and Oscar, as we see their relationship take a turn and everyone’s true colors come to light. Gloria, in particular, is faced with the decisions of her actions and must come to terms with the person she wants to be moving forward. And, in many ways, the remainder of the film plays out as an “origin story.”
Kudos to Vigalondo for one of the year’s more original films, with Hathaway and Sudeikis both delivering solid turns in the development of their characters. With great power comes great responsibility and Vigalondo takes great care to make this Colossal project engaging from start to finish.