Colossal: Finding Humor in Alcoholism and Self-Loathing

colossal poster

 

Colossal is one of the more recent indies to have come out, releasing in the U.S. on April 7th of this year. It stars Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, was written/directed by Nacho “Not Libre” Vigalondo, and as of this writing has grossed around 3 million dollars.

The story revolves around Gloria (Hathaway), an alcoholic who is forced to move back to her hometown after a breakup with her boyfriend Tim (played by schizophrenic mutant and literal beast Dan Stevens). This is all normal enough until Gloria discovers that she is somehow connected to a giant monster that occasionally wreaks havoc on Seoul (at least it’s not Tokyo this time). Oh, and she reunites with old childhood friend Oscar (Sudeikis), who gets Gloria a job at his bar, which obviously does wonders to help with her drinking problem.

 

colossal.jpg
Not pictured: the 20 bottles just like that one scattered about her feet.

 

Alcoholism is a major theme in the movie, and while I’m not entirely sure what it was trying to convey about alcohol exactly, I think it works in the movie’s favor. In the beginning, we root for Gloria to overcome her drinking issue, yet towards the middle we see her getting back on her feet during the day while she gets wasted during the night. It plays for good humor, while at the same time helping you feel more invested in her character. There’s a fairly popular cliche when it comes to character development: when the character has a problem, their life is terrible until that problem is overcome, and once it is, life magically gets better. Gloria’s character is more complex than that, and therefore more realistic, as her life gets better even as she still struggles with her problem.

Towards the end of the film, jealousy and self-hatred become prominent themes as well. We see just how powerful these emotions can be, and that they can consume our judgement and make us do selfish, stupid things. Hey, wait a minute. Alcohol does the exact same thing. I just found parallel themes while writing this! Go me!

There are a few problems with the film, however. Occasionally the movie can drag a bit, and the rules of the world are sometimes stretched to fit the story. The giant monster in this film doesn’t always look the best, as it had to be rendered with CGI, and I would venture to guess that the movie didn’t have a Godzilla-level budget. The dialogue isn’t always engaging, though this could either be the script or how the actors said their lines. For a good bit of the film, however, the dialogue is interesting and legitimately funny.

None of this ultimately detracts from the final film though. If you can ignore the occasional bad CGI or plot convenience, then I think you can really enjoy this film. Colossal is incredibly weird, which makes it unique, and in a world where half of the movies coming out today are a part of some cinematic universe, unique is something we desperately need.

My rating doesn’t matter, but I’ll give it anyways, just because I can.

8/10

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