CUFF ’17 Review: Colossal

After Gloria (Anne Hathaway) loses her job and is kicked out of her boyfriend’s apartment, she leaves her life in New York and moves back to her hometown. When news reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, Korea, Gloria gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this far-off phenomenon. As events begin to spin out of control, Gloria must determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a colossal effect on the fate of the world.

On the surface Colossal is a quirky comedy, but at its core addresses more dramatic topics such as addiction, abuse, and jealousy. Early in the film we get a fair share of laughs between Hathaway’s Gloria and Jason Sudeikis’s Oscar as the childhood friends reunite. Sudeikis plays an average joe, running the bar his dad once owned and is just scraping by. The re-emergence of Gloria helps to fill the void Oscar has been feeling as the two of them rekindle their friendship. Once it’s discovered that Gloria is in fact controlling the monster it becomes more than the initial story implies. A metaphor about battling addiction and abusive relationships, Gloria fights back on the largest scale.

Anne Hathaway has never been better as she portrays a damaged, vulnerable unemployed writer struggling with alcoholism. Hathaway’s Gloria is irresponsible but still manages to charm as she begins to revaluate her life after her boyfriend (Dan Stevens) kicks her out. Once she arrives in her hometown of Mainland she runs into her childhood friend Oscar, played by Sudeikis. Arguably his best performance to date, Sudeikis surprises with a vast range in character emotion. Initially the guy-next-door who’s protective of his friend, his character motivations are soon fleshed out as we delve deeper into the mind of Oscar. Sudeikis’s likeable onscreen presence makes it all the more worthwhile as it takes him to new heights (literally).

Part monster movie, part hipster comedy, part personal trauma, Colossal seamlessly moves through the genres while giving its two main characters depth and motivations. Colossal is a film unlike any other as this genre defying film delivers a fresh original idea while still acknowledging themes relatable to anyone. Director Nacho Vigalondo manages to pull off a plot that on paper looks like a bizarre B movie but on screen makes for a fascinating character study. Though a beast is wreaking havoc in Seoul, the story is being told through the eyes of the monster that is Gloria. The underlying messages that aren’t seen or spoken of make Colossal compelling as we watch the deterioration of Gloria’s cognizance. The multiple meanings of the word Colossal perfectly sums up the dual stories Vigalondo is telling.

Rating: 9/10 

 

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