We all want to think of ourselves as being independent and free. We want to believe we are only responsible for ourselves and no one else.
But what if your life and your actions brought consequences in the lives of people that were on the other side of the world from you?
As John Donne reminded us, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
“Colossal” is hard to describe.
It tells the story of Gloria (Anne Hathaway), an unemployed writer who is trying to drown her sorrow in alcohol. At the beginning of the movie, she is thrown out of her boyfriend Tim’s (Dan Stevens) apartment because of her partying ways.
With nowhere else to go, she returns back to her hometown and her childhood home. Gloria reconnects with Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), an old friend. Oscar runs a bar, and Gloria begins working and hanging out there.
Because she drinks so much, Gloria has problems remembering what she did or said on the days after.
After having drunk too much at Oscar’s, she comes home and crashes on the floor. Oscar awakens her the next day to tell her about a huge monster that appeared in Seoul, South Korea.
What follows is Gloria piecing together that she and the monster are connected. Really they are one and the same. When Gloria goes to a park near her house and walks onto a playground area there, the monster appears.
The story is about how someone who is so small in her world ends up being so big in a world that is not her own. Why are her life and actions having such a colossal (no pun intended) effect on the other side of the world?
This movie is strange to categorize. Is it a comedy? Or a horror movie, like the Godzilla movies?
The film is best understood as an allegory.
Gloria’s problems are not merely hers. Her problems affect not merely her but seemingly the whole world.
Add to that an undertone that life is precious and we need not waste it in self-loathing and self-pity. This is something that will speak back to the church.
The life of everyone is interconnected, and the quality of life is connected as well.
Gloria has first-world problems. She lives within the friendly confines of a country where she can be unemployed but still find ability to drink to her heart’s content.
What this movie does is make the viewer consider, “What if our problems, that seem small to us, end up being huge when considered in other parts of the world?”
Take the issue of our environmental stewardship. What we do here does have an effect on the larger world.
The amount of plastic within the ocean is growing to staggering level. This is something done by humans that see no real problem from their point of view. Throwing a plastic water bottle into the water seems minimal, but it becomes a huge problem for other parts of the world.
This question of how we bring forth problems to other parts of the world is not fully addressed in the film, but it is clearly a theme that can be seen in the subtext of the story.
What the movie does is make us focus on Gloria and her life. We are asked to see her and her actions as having something more to do than just what happens in her small world.
What we see is that the world is a bigger place than our little spot in it, and the world is affected more by our actions in it.
Michael Parnell is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is married and has two boys. His love is for movies, and he can be found in a theater most Fridays.
MPAA Rating: R for language.
Writer and director: Nacho Vigalondo
Cast: Anne Hathaway (Gloria), Jason Sudeikis (Oscar), Dan Stevens (Tim), Tim Blake Nelson (Garth).
The movie’s website is here.