It's not often I go into a movie knowing very little about the premise. When the cashier sold me a soda before seeing "Colossal," he asked what I was seeing and then a pretty simple follow-up: "what's that about anyway?" Great question! I said something like, "I dunno, Anne Hathaway and a monster or something."
After watching the 105 minute "Colossal," I'm not sure my answer changed much. From a technical standpoint, the film shines. The performances are good and there are great moments packed into what's a weird movie about broken people; but it's also not really about anything.
I won't go as far as to say it's all style, but as the climax of the film approached it became clear Hathaway's character, Gloria, hadn't gone through much of a transformation upon moving back to the small town she grew up in. Let's back up for a second, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Gloria, an unemployed alcoholic, gets kicked out of her boyfriend's New York apartment to figure her life out, and moves back to her hometown where she reconnects with Jason Sudekis. It becomes apparent she's controlling a large monster that's rampaging through Seoul, South Korea.
This is a cool concept, right? The monster represents her angst and doubt and... no, it doesn't, though. It doesn't really seem to represent anything, to be honest. It doesn't materialize when she's angry or sad; so don't get your hopes up for a deeper connection to, well, anything in this film.
Frankly, the premise of the entire film stands on shaky ground. The leads share a similar weakness: alcohol. That can be powerful subject matter, but using alcoholism as a character flaw, when we know (literally scientifically) that it's a disease is dangerous ground to tread upon.
So instead of a film where Gloria goes home and figures her life out, while using the monster to illustrate the real world casualities of her actions, we get this odd mess of a film that fails to offer anything resembling a satisfying theme. That's too bad, because there was promise here.