One of my favorite movies to highlight at this years SXSW Film Festival is Colossal. It had an impact on everyone who viewed it that day and it’s easy to see why. Director Nacho Vigalondo meshes together a world of delirium, booze and darkness in to one monster epic.
Colossal tells the story of Gloria (Anne Hathaway), a 30 something screw up who moves back to her home town when her boyfriend kicks her out of his New York City loft. Swallowing her pride and a ton of booze, she secures a job at a local bar owned by a childhood friend (Jason Sudeikis). This story has all the trappings of a perfectly set up rom-com; a down on her luck quirky girl thrown together with the handsome guy who got away. But if you’re thinking South Korea should be involved and we should have giant Godzilla-like monsters wreaking havoc on screaming hoards of civilians, you’d be thinking correctly. This is the crazy and chaotic plot of Colossal.
As Gloria works to sort out her own life, she is faced with saving all of Seoul from a monster of her own creation. But can she save herself?
Nacho Vigalondo’s tale of an alcoholic wrestling with darkness impacts others in a very real way, whether or not impact was intended. I think this is an ingenious way to represent the evil monsters that dwell inside all of us. A truly fantastic metaphor that speaks to being unaware of the damage we cause when that monster is unleashed. Our monsters grip us tightly, hold us in crippling fear and emotion and leave us in a constant state of grapple. A Gojira way of speaking this narrative was missing from cinema.
When asked by an audience member, who was very clearly upset by the content of domestic abuse in the film, if it was hard dealing with subject matter of this ilk, Nacho simply smiled and replied,
“Some stories aren’t pretty. So, as a writer, as a filmmaker, I have to risk offending audience members like yourself to tell a story or deal with subject matter they may be uncomfortable with. I believe these are the best stories. And I peppered in some jokes to help you smile through your tears”