If I had to use just one word to describe Colossal, it would be “unique,” but I’m going to use a whole lot more. Colossal is a darkly funny, dramatic, unpredictable, and a slightly emotional film that manages to look at some heavy material in a considerate manner; despite it’s absolutely absurd premise.
Anne Hathaway stars as Gloria, an unemployed burnout who gets booted out of her boyfriend Tim’s (Dan Stevens) New York apartment, as her late night habits have gotten “out of control”. Gloria, with nowhere else to go, moves back to her hometown and runs into an old friend from elementary school, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). After a late night with Oscar and his friends, Joel (Austin Stowell) and Garth (Tim Blake Nelson), Gloria wakes up to discover that a world-changing event has occurred; a giant monster has attacked Seoul, South Korea. With a few more appearances from the Kaiju, a couple of strange coincidences and some digging on Gloria’s part, she discovers something even weirder: she’s in control of the monster.
There’s a lot more that happens in Colossal, the majority of which is unpredictable and very intense, and I feel your enjoyment will most likely be reflected in how you feel about the plot breakdown above. It’s not like Colossal is the action-packed, giant monster flick like Godzilla or Pacific Rim, but it definitely has some of that absurdity and zaniness. As much as I enjoyed it, I can easily tell that this won’t be everyone’s kind of movie.
While the monster is a lot of fun to watch, Colossal’s most memorable and impactful scenes by far are the ones centered around its human co-stars and the changes they make, for better or worse. Anne Hathaway is spot on every time Gloria goes through one of her many emotional changes, and Sudeikis gives the best performance of his that I’ve seen to date. I would elaborate further on the dynamic between the two of them, but I want to avoid giving anything else away.
I also loved how Colossal managed to feel like it was many film genres rolled into one. It’s labeled as a science-fiction comedy, but I feel it could just as easily be labeled as a drama. There’s even a bit of thriller and horror here and there in the third act and it all somehow feels seamless and organic.
Colossal’s genre-blending wasn’t the only thing that caught me off guard. I was surprised time and again with the story’s direction and the character’s choices, which was a very refreshing experience for someone who has a pretty good track record for predicting beats in movies.
I would highly recommend Colossal to anyone who is open to a really odd take on a dramedy. It has great acting, interesting characters, a strong message about self-control, and is one of my favorite films of the year. You could say the amount I enjoyed it was… Colossal.
Side note: Neon, the distributor, has a short called “Five Films About Technology” tied to Colossal, and it’s awesome. Neon plans to put short films before all their feature length movies, and I can’t wait for the next one.