Imagine Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola collaborated on a science fiction movie. Picture it, the potential for all that brilliant weirdness. Now dream up a sci-fi comedy drama action thriller. That’s a lot going on, huh? That’s Colossal, and it’s as great in delivery as it is in name, even if it takes a while to get there.
Anne Hathaway is at her finest, as you have definitely never seen her before. Her portrayal of Gloria, the quintessential New York party girl is flawless, portrayed as utterly awful, heartless, and most dFullefinitely an alcoholic. She’s thoughtless, uncaring and her priorities are all messed up. She’s the worst of us all in our 20s-30s when we think we’re at our best and having a really fun time. But she’s not. She’s a woman, and if a male character was portrayed equally, we would find it comedic and probably forgive it as “just boys being boys”.
After one too many all-nighters, followed by lying to her boyfriend/ forgetting facts, Gloria is suddenly turfed out on her ass. Jobless, homeless and alone, she returns to her home town, where she rediscovers an old friend in Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). Sudeikis is a welcome surprise in a dramatic role which is played through with aplomb.
Whilst on another drunken rampage as Gloria adjusts to her small town surrounds, a monster concurrently appears in Seoul. This monster seems to resemble a fully crunk party girl but the link is left unsaid until Gloria uncovers it herself. Not only has she been behaving like a monster, she is the monster. That’s no spoiler – you’ve seen the trailer. Anne Hathaway as a Godzilla-like monster is quite a thing of beauty.
A weird, witty exploration of gender politics and the general abhorrence of female agency, the only likeable male characters are the always brilliant Timothy Blake Nelson and the himbo sexual interest, Austin Stowell. His adorably dumb-as-a-post character is an interesting addition, serving his purpose as the unintentional protagonist for tension between Gloria and Oscar. Tension which ends in the most physical of ways, which proves difficult to watch at times. Does a giant robot man hit a monster woman back when punched? You’ll have to pay for your ticket and support your local cinema to see how it ends.
As for agency, it’s a consistently prevalent theme. How dare a woman take ownership of her sexuality and destiny? How dare she make healthy choices, independent of a man? How dare she choose sexual partners based on her own desires? Throughout, her choices are dictated by men, but Gloria rallies against it, and she rallies hard. This is definitely a hit for the sisterhood, and we cheer her along like the masses in their homes as they watch drama unfold on their televisions.
Colossal is not without its flaws, by any sense – it muddles its way through the middle of the film like Hathaway’s character blunders through life. It stumbles drunkenly with no care for where its limbs land. But it’s forgivable.
Vacillating between absurdist comedy, romantic drama, an exploration of human tendencies and science fiction, it’s a fascinating ride ending in a crowd pleasing climax. Colossal is the best of quirky cinema, and Anne Hathaway is a wonder. It’s worth the watch, and there’s a fair bit of brain candy in here if you’re willing to let those dice roll.