Colossal (2016) [REVIEW] [SXSW ’17]

Prior to the first time I attended Fantastic Fest, I wasn’t super familiar with filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo. Apparently, he had made a couple of movies or something, and people kept referring to him as a “mascot” of the festival. Once I saw him in “action,” I knew exactly what this meant. Whether it be karaoke, Q & As, or the annual trivia game (the “Fantastic Feud”), Vigalondo was ferocious, ambitious, creative, and charming. Much like the filmmaker himself, Colossal is all of those things, and plenty more, as it turns the premise of a sci-fi romantic comedy on its head and chronicles the decisions one makes as to avoid potential human suffering.

Nothing says “goofy and endearing” like a gal flopping her arms around!

Between not having a dependable source of income and her drinking habits leading to the destruction of her relationship, Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is having a hard time in life. When her boyfriend kicks her out, she retreats to her family home in upstate New York in hopes of figuring herself out. She bumps into Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), an old childhood friend, who offers her a job serving drinks at his bar. Just when life feels like it’s growing mundane, a giant monster appears in Seoul, South Korea, to demonstrate bizarre behavior. When Gloria and Oscar realize the strange connection they have to the monster, in that it mimics Gloria’s behavior whether she wants it to or not, Gloria must decide between living the life that’s best for her, regardless of ramifications, or do what’s best for the “greater good.”

Look at how much of a hunk he is in that coat! How could you not want to smooch him!?

If that description of the plot sounds somewhat vague, GOOD! I don’t want to give anything away. It’s tough to talk about Colossal to anyone because the more you talk about it, the more you’ll make someone want to see it, but the more you’ll deny someone the experience of discovering the fantastic story that unfolds for audiences. Needless to say, the film circumvents basically all expectations you have about the movie, its characters, and performances of actors you might be familiar with.

I know, right?! Isn’t it weird that people began using you as a punchline and directed unwarranted hatred in your direction?!

Hathaway expertly walks the line between vulnerable victim and empowered badass. At times, she allows herself to be taken advantage of and exploited, yet at other times throws herself a pity party of how everything bad happening to her is someone else’s fault. She can also be the baddest of the bad, using her charms of both the feminine and non-feminine variety to get exactly what she wants. Admittedly, I haven’t seen many Anne Hathaway movies, but I think she tapped into some Princess Diaries era slapstick comedy stylings that I don’t often associate with the actress. Sudeikis is, as imagined, painfully endearing. However, he gets the chance to embrace his darker side, with many moments where he expresses his masculine entitlement, getting jealous of relationships with townies she starts to develop as well as envy her ex-boyfriend Tim. Oh, yeah, and Dan Stevens plays Tim, and Steven is always a cool hunk. Well, except in that Legion TV show where he has terrible hair.

I can’t put my finger on it, but something about this big thing made me wanna kiss it.

If there’s one thing for sure, you’ve never seen a romantic comedy like Colossal before. In fact, I doubt you’ve really seen any more like Colossal before, no matter what the genre. The whole film explores the variety of relationships one might experience in their life, whether that be between two romantic partners, two old friends, a friend who may or may not reciprocate more than feelings, or between a giant monster that’s capable of destroying a city. Much like the filmmaker himself, the film hooks you in with something quirky and inventive, only to show you how incredibly human it is, displaying the gamut interpersonal relationships can run in the adult world.

Wolfman Moon Scale

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