Colossal

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Colossal Movie Poster Image
Amazing, quirky sci-fi movie has drinking, language.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters are given the opportunity to think about others' lives, and they choose different things for different reasons. Some of these feelings are rooted in childhood, though characters do have a chance to overcome them. But the ultimate solution may have more to do with violence than reason. Old wrongs are perhaps corrected, but it's arguable as to whether lessons are learned.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though their situation is interesting, and perhaps some old wrongs are righted, these characters are highly flawed and not particularly admirable or worth emulating.

Violence

A woman is hit, threatened, and hurt with psychological violence. Cuts, bruises, wounds shown. Giant monster attacks/fights. The military fires missiles at monsters. Helicopter crash. Running/panicking crowds (innocent victims die). Huge firecracker lit, fires started. Bullying.

Sex

Innuendo.

Language

Fairly frequent language includes "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "ass," "hell," and "piss," with "Jesus Christ" and "god dang it" used as exclamations.

Consumerism

Pabst Blue Ribbon beer shown several times.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink frequently (possibly to an addictive degree), getting very drunk. Frequent hangovers and/or blackouts. A character is accused of having a cocaine habit. Characters smoke cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Colossal is an unusual sci-fi/fantasy/comedy/drama that could almost qualify as surreal. While violence isn't constant, some of it is quite shocking: A woman is beaten up and subjected to psychological violence and threats. There's also fantasy violence -- giant monsters attack, and the military fires on them. A subplot also involves bullying. Language is strong and fairly frequent, with uses of "f--k" and "s--t"; there's also brief sexual innuendo. Characters drink heavily and often, getting very drunk and suffering hangovers and blackouts. Though alcoholism isn't discussed, drinking is part of how the plot is triggered. A character is accused of using cocaine, and some smoking is shown. For the right viewers, this movie will definitely be a memorable experience -- perhaps even a cult favorite in the making. Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis co-star.

User Reviews

Adult Written bySamantha H. May 1, 2017

Darker than Common Sense Media review let on

Alcoholism might not be named, but it is the driving force of the film. And "bullying" is WAY too weak a word. ABUSE would be more appropriate. That... Continue reading
Adult Written byGh05t July 21, 2017

Just Under the Surface

There are some heavy themes lurking just underneath the surface. The antagonist/protagonist have an abusive relationship and that should be explained carefully... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byAnne Burton July 21, 2017

Very good

This movie is about control. One of the main characters is a "light your dog on fire" type of bad guy. He also indirectly kills many people in the mo... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byLesMis24601 December 23, 2017
Really good film, very enjoyable, Anne Hathaway is once again unfailingly fantastic, and Jason sudeikis is also good. Bit of language and drinking but no big pr... Continue reading

What's the story?

In COLOSSAL, Gloria (Anne Hathaway) has lost her job and now spends too much time drinking; her boyfriend (Dan Stevens) loses patience and breaks up with her. So she moves to her vacant childhood home, and, while trying to figure out her next move, reconnects with an old schoolmate, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). Oscar gives Gloria a job in his bar, and her drinking continues. At the same time, a monster has started attacking Korea, and the bar patrons watch events unfold on TV. Astonishingly, Gloria notices that her own movements and actions tend to coincide with the monster's; she figures out that if she stands in a certain place at a certain time, she becomes the monster and can control it. Unfortunately, Oscar discovers that he, too, has the "gift" and can become a giant robot. And he uses the opportunity to get back at Gloria for a perceived childhood slight.

Is it any good?

Feeling for all the world like a Charlie Kaufman creation, this sci-fi movie is all over the map; it's constantly surprising, and yet it stays true to an emotional, human struggle. Talented Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, V/H/S: Viral) brings his unique vision to this story about both psychological and literal monsters. As Colossal unfolds, its vivid characters struggle with their day-to-day lives, stumble upon the mind-blowing secret of the monster, and then learn the rules.

It's only then that Vigalondo unveils the pain at the center of the movie, wounds created in childhood that adult lives may have been built upon. It's a fully satisfying arc, centered around a truly imaginative setting: Gloria's empty house and Oscar's half-finished bar. Emotions are allowed to run dark, and the performances, especially by Hathaway, Sudeikis, and Tim Blake Nelson, are stronger as a result. 2016's Swiss Army Man, as well as Kaufman concoctions like Being John Malkovich previously ventured into this kind of fresh, bracing territory, and now Colossal joins them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Colossal's violence. How does the violence between the humans compare to the violence caused by the monsters? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How is drinking depicted? How does it contribute to the story? Are there consequences for drinking? Why does that matter?

  • How does bullying work into the story? Are any solutions presented?

  • How do the two characters differ in their approach to their situation? What are their concerns? Their goals? Their solutions?

  • What does "surreal" mean? Does this movie qualify? Why or why not?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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