A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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 ...
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?
- In theaters: April 7, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: August 1, 2017
- Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Tim Blake Nelson
- Director: Nacho Vigalondo
- Studio: Neon
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.