Colossal Review: A Must See for Anyone Living
Nacho Vigalondo’s Colossal is a monster movie, despite what you may have heard. Honestly, it’s one of the purest, emotionally investing and scariest monster movies I’ve personally ever seen. To be fair, I have made it a personal mission of mine to avoid any and all marketing for the film, minus the poster and the fact that Anne Hathaway is in it. If you are reading this and somehow have done the same, I applaud you and continue to remain pure, as Colossal is best seen while knowing as little as possible to ensure you have an optimal viewing experience. Since it is almost impossible to review Colossal without at least skimming some plot points, I’ll advise a light SPOILER warning from this point forward.
Gloria (Anne Hathaway) drinks too hard and parties too much. Her uptight and self-important boyfriend, Tim (Dan Stevens) has enough of it and throws her out. Gloria returns to her hometown, dreaming of making a new start, but instead revives her childhood friendship with Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who runs a bar. After drinking a night away with Oscar and his friends, Gloria wakes up to discover that a gigantic monster has been rampaging through Seoul, and someway, somehow, she may be connected to it.
I feel dirty for even giving away the basic plot synopsis for Colossal, but it must be done. Matter of fact, the film’s marketing could be considered spoilers, from the trailers to the social media hashtag, plot elements have been haunting this kaiju mystery movie since the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. However, something needs to be done for audiences to be aware of this cult-classic in the making, as Colossal is truly one of the best films of 2017, thus far.
Anne Hathaway is ridiculously great as the awkwardly troubled but still adorable Gloria. From the moment we first meet our unlikely protagonist, we know so much about her through Hathaway’s eyes alone. Gloria is troubled, quirky, harmless but still unpredictable in her actions. She appears to be an alcoholic, though not like you’d expect. The earnestness in Hathaway’s performance makes for a compelling character, one that’s not so “cut and dry” or unstable to the point of unlikeable. You want to know more about Gloria, hang out with her and be her friend; she’s just that cool.
As Colossal narratively unwinds, so does Gloria as a character. The complexities of her personality emerge, things begin to happen, “big” things if you will. Situations are presented to her that are challenging physically and mentally; one’s that only she can deal with and confront. In doing so, Hathaway needs to go places as an actress that are sometimes obscure and unorthodox. Not only does she pull this off, but the character of Gloria never loses sight of who she is. She is still the same bubbly, odd and fascinating girl we first meet, who we believe can do some pretty amazing things.
Jason Sudeikis gives the best performance of his career as the boy scout bar owner, Oscar. Like Gloria, Oscar is a multi-dimensional character who is much more than meets the eye. The particulars of his character, like the film itself, goes to places that I didn’t expect. What I can say is that Sudeikis show’s that he does have serious acting chops, one’s that I couldn’t believe he was capable of achieving as an actor. Bravo, Jason Sudeikis, you’re alright in my book.
Colossal deals with some rather severe and delicate issues once the core plot of finally revealed. Subject matter that would undoubtedly be tough for many to sit through.Nacho Vigalondo handles these topical issues head on, no chance for stopping and making his points crystal clear. What makes Vidalondo a cut above the rest, is that he manages to tackle these elements without ever feeling like that he’s beating you over the head with a message. The messages are clear, present, terrifying and work with this massively original story. You may be surprised on how emotional and gut-wrenching this IMDB advertised “Action-Comedy” can be.
Yes, there are monsters in this movie, and you may even see them slap each other occasionally. The actual monster(s) in Colossal though, are much more horrifying than anything you’ve seen in a Godzilla movie. Scenes that on paper would read like a parody or an SNL sketch transcends on the screen with gravitas and wonder. Colossal is a film that simply should not work. Some plot elements become insane, ludicrous even. However, Colossal is also the film that should not work but does exquisitely. With Nacho Vidalondo’s script and direction, along with a powerhouse performance from Anne Hathway, Colossal will go down as one of the best film’s of 2017.
Colossal is playing now in select theaters.