Colossal (2016)
April 17, 2017 11:23 AM - Subscribe

A woman discovers that severe catastrophic events are somehow connected to the mental breakdown from which she's suffering.
posted by everybody had matching towels (13 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
(that description is from IMDB - I don't think it really captures how the events are connected, but it's fine and doesn't spoil anything for someone just looking at the main page)
posted by everybody had matching towels at 11:25 AM on April 17, 2017

This was a fun movie. There was a brief moment where it looked like it was going to be a romantic comedy, but I appreciated they way it turned out that actually she was surrounded by assholes, and one abusive asshole in particular.

Garth was okay, but everyone else: Tim doesn't come off especially well. He's justified in kicking her out, but then picks a fight first thing when he goes to reconnect with her. Oscar is a violent and abusive asshole who we discover has always been terrible and is still holding grudges from elementary school. Joel goes along with and enables Oscar's abuse. Garth is never anything but well meaning, if a bit scattered, and isn't a party to any of Oscar's abuse (except on the receiving end). I hope he's okay and I want to hear his astronaut story.

I thought she was going to eat Oscar at the end.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:45 AM on April 18, 2017 [7 favorites]

Joel goes along with and enables Oscar's abuse.

I really loved that part - the "good guy" isn't good at all, he's just placidly going along with his missing stair friend. A lesser movie wouldn't have handled that as well, I think. Also that actor looks strangely like Eli Manning (even more so in Bridge of Spies!).

The biggest laugh of the film for me was Gloria's reaction to Tim demanding an explanation. Anne Hathaway has always had wonderful comic facial expressions, and that one was just perfection.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 7:43 AM on April 18, 2017 [5 favorites]

My own most hysterical laugh was "I think you broke the skin!" -- averting the standard movie line of "my hand!" in just the right way for that miserable character.

I found this not only funny and bizarre, but also really emotionally overwhelming, in a good way. The portrayal of abuse is legit; the metaphor of the monster and robot is flexible and encompasses a lot of the ways that Gloria's life has fallen apart. She has no allies or friends (until, just possibly, the film's last two minutes) -- Tim fails her for good and bad reasons of his own; the dudes around Oscar are enablers. She can't trust anyone. (I suspected Oscar was lying about their conversations while she was drunk in the first half of the movie, and now I'm certain of it.)

It also engaged very well with the whole X-Men movie thing of white Americans smashing up overseas cities -- it has to be a faraway place for the Button, Button/Death Note plot to work, in which the characters gain godlike power over strangers and have to choose between engaging with that and not. It helps that the film begins with Korean characters' perspective, and that Gloria never gets credit for becoming a hero. She does what any decent person would do upon a) realizing that she's a villain b) encountering someone who knows he's a villain and likes it. Her growing recognition of other people's humanity is her only reward, and it's its own reward, and that's OK.
posted by thesmallmachine at 9:01 AM on April 18, 2017 [10 favorites]

It's up in the air whether Gloria will start drinking again.
posted by brujita at 11:22 AM on April 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh there were so many things I loved about this movie. I love how well they did the Oscar transformation from "nice guy" to abuser. It was so well done with things I'm pretty sure those of us who survived abuse immediately picked up on.

The thing with Tim. I think initially we are meant to empathize with him, but you don't end up in a situation like that without having some issues yourself. Projecting everything onto one person and saying "This person is all that is wrong with the relationship and once they change everything is ok" is just not at all realistic in terms of how relationships work. Tim obviously had something invested in her cache as a writer. And so as soon as Gloria begins to stabilize with a non-status driven job, Tim is thrown off kilter and has to come find her and try and undermine what she's doing.She finally begins to realize in that last phone call that it's not ALL HER. That Tim deserves some blame here too. It's great that she isn't entirely given a clear romantic interest. About the best sign we're given of that is Joel smiling at her on tv at the end of the movie. And honestly I prefer to think of that as a kind of relief she's ok and not an indication they are meant for each other.

And that last moment....when she's defeated the villain and made this huge epic journey and STILL has to struggle with alcoholism. Oh that was just gorgeous.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:57 PM on April 19, 2017 [8 favorites]

I really enjoyed this movie and found it refreshing--I didn't know where it was going to end up and I'm so glad Gloria didn't forgive any of these dudes or give in to intertia and find herself saddled with a doomed romance at the end. Personally I was rooting for Gloria-monster to squeeze Oscar until his eyes popped out but tossing him away like a bit of trash was fitting.
posted by esoterrica at 10:29 AM on April 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Personally I was rooting for Gloria-monster to squeeze Oscar until his eyes popped out but tossing him away like a bit of trash was fitting.

At a certain point maybe a bit over halfway through the movie, it occurred to me that Oscar was completely unredeemable, he would never stop going back to the playground and she would need to kill him. But how do you present the actual act of her doing that while a) letting her realistically get away with it, and also b) not depicting it in a way that's too extreme or graphic for us not to lose any sympathy for her character?

I thought tossing him far away into the mountains until he's just a speck while she's in Seoul was the ideal solution.
posted by doctornecessiter at 6:07 AM on April 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

Wonderful and simple.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:36 PM on October 9, 2017

The idea of Oscar committing to showing up anywhere, let alone a playground, at 8:05 am for the long term shows a remarkable degree of je ne sais quoi for a long-term alcoholic. Shame he was an incredible bastard.
posted by figurant at 12:03 AM on April 15, 2018

I loved this so much. The metaphor works so well on any level you want to engage with it. I saw Gloria staying with Oscar for fear of the harm he'd do to others as being like mothers staying with a guy to protect their kids. And it makes me glad his previous partner was able to make a run for it before he found his powers.

Oh and the way she squared up to him each time at the playground! Fists up, knowing she couldn't really beat him that way but trying anyway. My heart! And I knew before it was shown that Joel would do exactly nothing.

I hope Garth is going to be okay.
posted by harriet vane at 6:59 PM on March 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was looking at the Rotten Tomatoes audience rating for this and Young Adult and have come to the conclusion that movies staring women have a 25% penalty for the audience reviews. Critics are maybe a little more fair because RT tries to include more diverse reviews in that side of things.

Finally watched this this weekend and it was a surprisingly funny. Probably I shouldn't have been laughing.
posted by fiercekitten at 10:58 PM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Someday, someone will make a retrospective and call it something like MEN ARE NOT OKAY: The Films of Nacho Vigalondo.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:54 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]

« Older Girls: Latching...   |  Podcast: Chapo Trap House: Epi... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments