“Colossal” (Neon) is a monster movie that has as much to do with inner demons as it does with the physical manifestations of those with the power and determination to level a city the size of Seoul, South Korea. A very adult take on “A Monster Calls,” writer/director Nacho Vigalondo’s “Colossal” has a lot to say about women, men and alcohol abuse.
The ironically named Gloria (Anne Hathaway) has a drinking problem. So far, it’s cost her a job as a writer for an online publication, and will probably mean the end of her relationship with Tim (Dan Stevens). Leaving Manhattan for suburban Maidenhead, Gloria sequesters herself in her parents’ vacant rental house to pull herself together.
It doesn’t take long for her to be distracted. Townie and former classmate Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who now runs the bar previously owned by his late father, tries to be helpful. He provides Gloria with a futon when the one air mattress she bought springs a leak, as well as a big screen TV and other furniture. He also gives her a job as a waitress.
There is, however, a price to be paid. Oscar’s relationship with alcohol is almost as serious and detrimental as Gloria’s. Nightly, after the bar closes, Gloria ends up hanging out (and blacking out) with Oscar, and his friends Garth (Tim Blake Nelson) and ridiculously hot Joel (Austin Stowell).
As Gloria continues her downward spiral, exhibiting increasingly questionable behavior, a horned and tailed monster as tall as a skyscraper appears in Seoul and goes on a destructive rampage. Watching footage of the monster online, Gloria soon realizes that she is strangely connected to it. Any physical activity in which she partakes while standing in a playground near the grade school she attended is mirrored by the monster. The realization is, of course, terrifying.
The appearance of an equally massive robot, with a correlation to Oscar, is a sign that Gloria has the power to change her life. But Oscar, who likes having Gloria around, doesn’t think that is such a good idea. The monster and the robot, the embodiments of the uglier sides of Gloria and Oscar’s personalities, unleashed during a lightning strike both experienced as children in a vacant lot where the playground now stands, is a comment on childhood trauma, as well as what happens when people self-medicate to mask the pain.
The biggest problem with “Colossal” is that it can’t decide what it wants to be. Is it a comedy or a monster movie? Is it a statement on the horrors of alcoholism or the dreadful state of love and relationships? Maybe it’s all of the above. It’s also unexpectedly entertaining. Rating: B