A few weeks ago, I had the chance to see the newest film from director Nacho Vigalondo, COLOSSAL. Having heard nothing but rave reviews coming from it’s festival circuit, I was looking forward to experiencing what all the buzz was about. On the surface, the film plays out like a modern day monster movie, however, when you start to peel back the layers of the film, it’s becomes more of a study on human behavior and the monster that is inside us all.
The film, which stars Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, and Dan Stevens, centers around the character Gloria, a hot mess of a woman whose life is crumbling down around her as her penchant towards alcohol becomes increasingly worse. After her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) breaks up with her and kicks her out of his apartment, Gloria (Hathaway) returns to her hometown and empty family home to re-evaluate her life choices. While there, an event happens that shakes the world to its core when a monster appears and begins terrorizing the people of Seoul. To Gloria’s horror, she soon realizes that her mental breakdown may be connected to the appearance of this monster.
Let me start off by saying that I love monster movies. What I love more than a good old monster feature is a film that showcases the horrors of human nature. COLOSSAL is a movie that hit me right in the gut and brought me back to a time in my life where I struggled with my own sobriety. The film as a whole is a fun watch, with incredible performances, most notably by Hathaway and Sudeikis. As much as I tried to separate myself from Hathaway’s portrayal of Gloria, I found it quite difficult as I saw a lot of myself in her. Having struggled with alcohol addiction, and seeing how it manifested itself into a monstrous beast towards my friends and family, I found it quite easy to relate to what Gloria was going through. Gloria is sad and lost and Hathaway does a fantastic job of bringing this character to life and giving her the hope she so desperately needs.
As much as I loved Hathaway, the real star of the show was Jason Sudeikis as Oscar, the friendly “guy next door” who is a welcomed addition to Gloria’s life… or at least that is what we are originally led to believe. I don’t want to give anything away (so you may want to stop reading at this point…………………………………………………………………….okay I gave you enough time to step away) but holy hell did I hate his character. Women, I can’t urge you enough to see this movie. In a world where so many men feel entitled to us because they are “nice guys”, this films show the horrifying reality of just how manipulative those “nice guys” really are. As a fan of Sudeikis, I was not expecting to see him play such a disturbing character and it completely caught me off guard.
As for the monster itself, it was a beautiful creation. At first we are led to believe that this monster has appeared seemingly out of nowhere to terrorize the people of Seoul; however, as the story unfolds the audience learns the real meaning behind its manifestation. I found the symbolism towards addiction and eventual independent to be quite profound, as the true nature of the monster is revealed. Though the monster had a bit of a cartoonish design to it, I think that was done on purpose so as to not make it look so terrifying. As the film went on, the design of the creature grew on me, to the point that I kind of wanted to befriend it.
The most powerful aspect of COLOSSAL, to me at least, was the storyline. It’s one of those films that makes you think one thing, only to flip the narrative completely on it’s head half way through. It’s a story that’s relatable, beautiful and heartbreaking while also showcasing the consequences of one’s own selfish actions. Though there is the inclusion of a monster, this is definitely not a traditional horror film, instead more of an examination of the monster hidden within us all. If you go into the movie hoping for a Godzilla level monster flick, you may be disappointed at first, but trust me when I say you will see an epic battle play out.
Overall, this film has quickly become my number one film of the year. It has moments that really get under your skin while also evoking strong emotions. The depiction of the monster, both literally and figuratively, was an incredibly unique way of telling a story about addiction and transformation. I can’t say enough good things about this movie and I urge all of you to see it was it will give you a better understanding of what some people go through and what it takes to overcome one’s own personal demons. To me, this film was a masterpiece, and I can only hope that those who see it will be able to take away a similar experience such as the one that I had.