COLOSSAL (2017 release) : Movie Review
COLOSSAL : Gloria (Anne Hathaway) certainly never meant to hurt anybody, but her lack of personal responsibility and her propensity towards drunken blackouts finally pushes the patience of her big-city boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) too far and he shows her the door. Gloria has the good fortune to have her parents’ small-town house (now completely empty) at her disposal, but beyond that she’s broke and jobless. Enter childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who comes to the rescue with a generous assortment of home furnishings and a waitressing job at the bar he inherited. It all seems fine and dandy, but the more Gloria pushes Oscar to open up the walled-off, Western-themed side of the bar that Oscar would rather ignore, the more Oscar re-considers his own situation… while both he and Gloria continue to enjoy their drinks. And just when the first warning signs of Oscar’s jealous and possessive nature emerge, Gloria becomes aware of the strange kinship she apparently shares with the giant monster that just showed up in Seoul.
Yes, you read that correctly. COLOSSAL (from writer/director Nacho Vigalondo) is a warm and heartfelt comic drama exploring human emotion, relationships, hopes and dreams… and it’s a monster movie. No, the kaiju isn’t just in Gloria’s head… it’s really in South Korea and the entire world is watching–and it only gets crazier and more potentially dangerous the more Gloria learns about her very real connection and scrambles to figure out how to make things right.
Of course, the various men in and around her life would all love to help out in various ways. You know that a guilt-ridden Tim is going to make a reappearance, and meanwhile there’s Joel (Austin Stowell), who wants to be a nice guy as well, much to Oscar’s chagrin. The only fellow who’s happy to mind his own business and just try to have a good time with his friends is recovering addict Garth (Tim Blake Nelson); so of course he takes the first wave of the inevitable storm of abuse.
But in the end it comes down to our two protagonists, and Vigalondo’s project is blessed with two truly excellent and empathetic performances as Gloria and Oscar come to terms with themselves but resolve to move in opposite directions all the same. Either of these characters could have skipped class and offered up easy stereotypes for instant audience gratification (come on, let’s get back to the monster stuff!), but Vigalondo and his cast take the proper road. One doesn’t need to see Gloria’s former hard-party lifestyle for oneself–the effects her decisions have made on others speak for themselves; but at the same time it’s easy to see why people want her to succeed; and support for Hathaway’s essentially sweet-natured Gloria is effortless. And while drunken, bitter bullies are a dime-a-dozen in Hollywood stock, Sudeikis conveys every detail of what goes through his character’s mind to create his deep self-loathing and justify his own choices to himself (which does not equate to the movie actually defending his eventually abhorrent actions). It all comes together, not in a kaiju showdown (not that that doesn’t take place, but no spoilers), but in the truly intense meeting of Oscar and Tim: Gloria desperately tries to keep the peace (“Don’t talk about me like I’m not here!”), but Oscar claims the floor with one of the best slow-burn meltdowns yet committed to film.
COLOSSAL stands as one of the best releases of the year to date, “monster” movie or otherwise. Don’t miss it.