If you’ve been looking for a good romantic-comedy supernatural monster movie with a generous helping of drama tossed in alongside some quirky, indie-flick appeal, you’re finally in luck. Colossal is the film we never knew we’ve been missing.

The latest oddball invention of writer/director Nacho Vigalondo (Extraterrestrial), Colossal stars Anne Hathaway as Gloria, an alcoholic trainwreck who comes home to her New York apartment one day to find that her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) has packed her bags and is kicking her out. After retreating back to the middle-America home of her youth, she trips on her old grade-school buddy Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who has taken over the family bar, and the two of them reconnect.

Of course this all follows a 25-years-earlier prologue set in Seoul, South Korea, that shows a little Korean girl finding her lost doll in a local park immediately before a hundred-stories-tall monster appears and tromps through the city.

How does everything connect? Well, that’s just one of the many secrets the movie holds (and, miraculously, explains) over the course of its runtime. Suffice to say that just as you’ve figured out what kind of movie it is, Colossal takes detour after detour on the way to its wholly satisfying finish.

Perish the critics (and I won’t be one of them) who give anything else away. Colossal is a film that simply has to be seen to be believed. It may be far-fetched (it is science fiction, after all), but Vigalondo pulls everything together into a smart and cohesive film that works on multiple levels. His script is one of the more creative ones to be produced in recent memory, and his direction is not only taut, but it expertly shifts as the story evolves. Colossal could have devolved into a series of unrelated vignettes, but he pulls it all together with a mastery that many directors working today couldn’t have pulled off.

Hathaway may actually be the film’s true revelation. She’s gotten no end of flack in recent years, and she certainly has her legions of detractors, but she’s never turned in a performance like this before. And frankly she needs to do it more often. Sudeikis, likewise, sinks his teeth into the part and offers up a solid, even nuanced performance.

There’s no question that Colossal has stayed way under the radar since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall, but if there was ever a movie that deserves to get a grassroots following and then explode into the mainstream it’s this one. It’s exactly the kind of fresh and fearless movie-making we need more of. And it’s a monster of a good time.


4/5 stars