The Fem-Spired Movie You Might Not Have Heard About
Post by Guest Contributor, Kate Harveston.
If you’ve heard anything about the film Colossal, it’s probably been along the lines of Anne Hathaway and giant monsters. Accurate, but the movie is so much more than that. In addition to being a unique blend of romantic comedies and monster movies, it has a distinct feminist slant and commentary.
It starts off as a seemingly typical romantic comedy. After her boyfriend kicks her out, Gloria heads back to her hometown to pick up the pieces and work on herself. Childhood friend Oscar swoops in to help get her back on her feet with a job and some furniture. And then it gets twisted.
You see, Gloria discovers when she’s in a particular playground at a particular time, she causes a giant kaiju monster to appear in Seoul. Every move she makes, the kaiju does too. Things become more complicated when Oscar comes to the playground at that time as well — and manifests as a giant robot in Seoul. They trace this back to an incident with lightning at this park when they were children.
While Gloria uses this realization to better herself, by avoiding alcohol and the playground, it turns Oscar into someone much darker. After getting jealous and thinking something happened between Gloria and his friend Joel, he gets drunk, tries to force Gloria to drink and threatens to go to the playground if she doesn’t obey him. Things only escalate from there.
Literally Fighting Against Misogyny
In the beginning, none of the men in Gloria’s life seem all that bad. An out-of-work alcoholic, Gloria can be a handful, and you don’t really blame ex-boyfriend Tim for kicking her out. Oscar seems helpful, and his friend Joel seems quiet and nice.
However, Oscar starts setting off the warning bells pretty soon. The revelation that he too has a giant alter ego in Seoul reveals some terrifying personality traits. He uses the robot to control Gloria, holding the lives of thousands of Seoul residents over her head. If she doesn’t do what he wants, he could simply knock over some skyscrapers, killing tons of people.
Referring to Oscar, Anne Hathaway said, “You’ve met that guy. And part of the reason it becomes sickening is because you realize that you know that guy.” Most romantic comedies perpetuate the trope that a persistent man will eventually get the girl. But that’s not what a healthy relationship looks like, and it’s explored here with Gloria and Oscar.
He truly thinks he can force her to stay in this town and eventually fall in love with him. His persistence turns to manipulation, abuse and brute force. This is the reality of some of those “romantic” men in the movies. What they’re doing isn’t romantic — it’s a warning sign. They don’t know that no means no.
An interesting point this article made was the issue with Tim as well. If this were a traditional romantic comedy, he would be the good guy who saves Gloria from Oscar. However, you realize he’s also abusive. He constantly puts Gloria down, and it seems he doesn’t really want her to get better. He wants her to continue to be “less than” him, so he can be the big, powerful man.
Seek It Out
The best thing about this movie is that it kind of has something for everyone. It’s a monster movie that challenges romantic comedies, as well as the role men seem to play in them. While the feminist message is obvious to someone who’s looking for it, it isn’t going to slap you in the face with its agenda.
It’s a movie that makes you think. It challenges the viewer to come up with some opinions on what all of it means and what message it’s trying to send. It wants you to go into your next romantic comedy with this movie in the back of your mind so you’re questioning the actions of these characters.
This film is unlike anything else. One of the reasons you may not have heard of it is that it straddles genres, which probably made it more difficult to market. It’s definitely weird and not a typical blockbuster you’ll see playing in the local cinema. But it’s time to give it a shot. Even if the movie isn’t your favorite, you’ll walk away with new ideas forming.
Kate Harveston is a young writer from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. She enjoys all things related to culture, politics and law, and how those elements intersect and act upon each other. If you like her writing, you can follow her on Twitter or visit her blog, Only Slightly Biased.