Colossal review

Colossal is one of those films that wrong-foots you right from the start, in the best possible way. You think you are going to see a Godzilla-style monster movie, and there is certainly an element of that, but what you are really going to see if a deeply moving – and very funny – human drama.

Anne Hathaway stars as Gloria, a writer living in New York with her boyfriend, Tim (Dan Stevens). When we meet Gloria she has just arrived home from a night out with friends (it's now daytime) and she finds that Tim has packed her bags and wants her out. She moves back to her now-vacant family home and begins working at the bar of an old school friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). but when she sees a TV news report about a giant monster attacking Seoul in South Korea, Gloria gets a funny feeling that she is somehow connected.

So what looks like being a sci-fi/horror/monster movie turns out to be something quite different. Instead of taking the hint and spending her time back home cleaning up her act, Gloria slips back into old habits, hanging around after closing at the bar and drinking through the night with Oscar and his pals. When she does come to her senses and realises what she is doing to herself and tries to change, Oscar steps in and things turn quite dark.

Colossal's greatest strength is its two leads. Hathaway is, to my mind, is a greatly underrated actor, and here we have not seen her better. She brings a real depth to Gloria and works hard to develop her as a very real, relatable character. And Sudeikis really surprises with his performance - we know him for his comic roles, but here he takes a very dark turn and it's very much a revelation.

Dressed up in its shiny sci-fi/horror suit, Colossal is actually a very dark drama – although the film can be incredibly funny at times – that is really about dependence, obsession and being caught up in abusive relationships. On the surface it's a fun monster romp in the style of the old Godzilla movies (although it does leave the monster stuff nicely ambiguous - are the monsters real or simply in the characters' imaginations?) but on a deeper level, Colossal is an exceptional, smart and very human drama.

EXTRAS: Nothing at all, sadly. But the US version didn't have much in the way of bonus material either – just a single deleted scene.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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