‘Colossal’: The Movie That Will Make You Stop Hating Anne Hathaway
Nowadays, it’s difficult to get a pitch for an original movie into theaters. It’s even harder for that movie to actually take shape into a truly great story. Factor in the strange Hollywood hatred directed toward Anne Hathaway in recent years, and Colossal seemed like a recipe for disaster. What it was instead though was nothing short of shocking, with Hathaway’s best performance to date. But that’s not the only reason this movie sits atop our list of 2017’s best films.
1. A weirdly effective (and insane) premise
Based on the premise of Colossal, it’s a god damn miracle this movie ever got green-lit. The story follows Gloria (Anne Hathaway), a woman with a drinking problem returning to her hometown, after her boyfriend breaks up with her. She soon discovers that when she enters a local playground at 8 a.m. every morning, a monster appears in Seoul, South Korea, mimicking her exact motions.
Hijinks ensue from there, as Gloria deals with the consequences of accidentally rampaging through Seoul like some sort of Kaiju avatar. Yeah. It’s crazy.
2. This is Anne Hathaway at her absolute best
Amidst all of the bizarre vitriol directed at Anne Hathaway in recent years, it’s easy to forget that she’s put on some incredible performances throughout her career. Playing an alcoholic who is wrestling with the guilt of being a proxy for a giant monster in South Korea is easily the most challenging thing you can ask of any actor.
It’s a character who’s equal parts sympathetic and terrible, caring little for those who care for her, and yet still possessing a believable moral compass when it’s all said and done. As The Mary Sue aptly describes in their own review, she’s “self-centered, destructive, lazy and entitled, and yet you find yourself rooting for her, because you can feel that underneath all her defense mechanisms, she’s a hurt child trying to make sense of her life.”
Now try playing that inside of a crazy sci-fi story like this one, and you begin to see just how impressive Hathaway’s performance is.
3. Colossal goes far deeper than its premise lets on
We won’t give away any major twists, but what we will say is this: There’s far more than meets the eye here. Yes, the basic story is nuts, and on its own, that would be enough to carry most sci-fi movies. Colossal is a film that features a handful of insightful and complex themes though, and admirably, it never shies away from that mission.
4. Somehow, it’s the most effective allegory for domestic abuse you’ll ever see in a sci-fi movie
If you’d have told us going in that Colossal would double as one of the most profound statements on domestic abuse in cinematic history, odds are we would have called you crazy. That’s exactly what this film accomplishes, and it does so with aplomb. Don’t worry though, we’ll let you see why for yourself in theaters.
5. An original story in a climate dominated by franchises
Sequels, reboots, and remakes are the three pillars of modern Hollywood, from epic superhero franchises to Star Wars. That makes original screenplays the unicorns of the film industry. What’s even rarer is an original screenplay that works beautifully as a movie.
Enter Colossal, written and directed by relative newcomer Nacho Vigalondo. Between this and Get Out, 2017 has quickly become a proving ground for new, original ideas, and we couldn’t be more excited.
6. Jason Sudeikis like you’ve never seen him before
Despite building his career as a comedic actor, Jason Sudeikis flexes his dramatic muscles in a big way in Colossal. Again, too much more insight will spoil the film, but we will say this: Hathaway may be the star of the film, but Sudeikis is a downright force of nature from the second he first appears on-screen.
7. A whole cast that shines
It’s not just the leading players that will catch your attention either. Tim Blake Nelson and Austin Stowell both subtly shine as barflies and friends of Sudeikis’ character. Their significance can’t be understated, especially as the greater domestic abuse narrative starts to take shape.
8. Thematically, things get bogged down a little
Crashing through genre boundaries like the Kool-Aid man can be something of a double-edged sword, an issue that Colossal finds itself having throughout its almost two-hour runtime. At times, it can feel like it’s spending almost too much time on certain story beats, making for a film that feels like it could function far more effectively at a much shorter 90 minutes.
9. Allow yourself to be surprised
It should probably go without saying, but it’s doubly as important for Colossal: Don’t let this movie be spoiled for you. There are some absolutely groundbreaking surprises in store along the way, and you’ll have a far better viewing experience by waiting to find out what happens. We promise, you’ll be plenty satisfied in not knowing what’s going to happen going in.
10. Where it ranks within 2017’s best films
It’s been an interesting year for movies, and Colossal is proof positive of that. Even with some brief thematic confusion, it’s safe to say that this is easily one of 2017’s best films, right up there with the equally-as-profound Get Out. From its shockingly apt message, to its sci-fi appeal, Colossal is everything you can possibly hope for from of a genre film. Plus, it marks the triumphant return to prominence for Hathaway.
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