Stay with me here, because the premise of Colossal is not normal.
Anne Hathaway plays an alcoholic who gets kicked out of her New York apartment by her boyfriend and makes her way back to her small hometown to try to get back on her feet. After a night of drinking, she finds herself walking through a playground at precisely 8:05 a.m., after which she gets home to discover that a giant monster has appeared in Seoul, South Korea, and wreaked havoc on the city. With me so far? Well, this all happens again, Hathaway gets drunk, walks through the same playground at 8:05, the monster appears and causes more damage. Only this time, Hathaway notices that the monster behaves strikingly like she did as she walked through the playground.
Yep, that’s right, Hathaway is the monster. Sort of. She’s still herself, walking through a playground, it’s just that this monster manifests every time she’s there at 8:05 and it moves exactly as she moves. Which means all the destruction isn’t so much intentional as it is simply careless.
It’s too easy just to say that this monster is a physical representation of Hathaway’s own demons, because that’s not quite right, although that’s probably part of it. It is, though, a way to get into the rest of the story, which is surprisingly grounded given how it’s all set up. It wouldn’t be fair to say a lot more about where this goes, but the movie smartly continues to focus on Hathaway and her choices, rather than going too far into what’s happening in Seoul. This is, at its heart, a much smaller character story than the premise would indicate, and it’s a better movie for keeping its gaze on Hathaway and the men in her life, making smart comment on the supposedly “nice guy” and what happens when that nice guy turns out to be anything but.
The bird’s eye view makes Colossal seem outrageous, but what we get is a much more intimate story that amazingly seems totally believable, despite what’s happening. And, maybe most importantly, in this day of remakes and sequels, Colossal also gives us something wholly original.