Colossal is a film about dealing with the monster within you caused by alcoholism; its use of a Kaiju that wreaks havoc upon all is easy-to-understand symbolism representing the ways people can unsuspectingly hurt others through their abuse of alcohol. Having been forced out of her apartment by her partner, Gloria (Anne Hathaway) travels back to her hometown, dreaming of a new start in life.
Understanding the monster she has created, Gloria must confront it despite the various issues that seem to be arising, urging her to take another drink in order to escape: finding a job working in a bar owned by Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) seems to have the opposite effect on her; her nights are once again spent drinking. Eventually, the scale of her destruction is evident when Gloria quickly discovers the correlation between her movements in a playground in her hometown and the movements of the Kaiju that seemingly attacks Seoul at the same time through news reports on the television.
Gloria’s monster isn’t all evil, though. After all, the monster is just Gloria, and she is capable of showing compassion, love, and kindness without alcohol obstructing it, which is evident in her attempts to communicate through the monster with the people of Seoul to apologise for the destruction caused prior — although Seoul isn’t safe just yet: Oscar, however, is always a monster, he wants to toy with Gloria and does not care if people are caught up in it. There’s childhood conflict between the two, and Oscar takes matters into his own hands as he discovers he, inside the playground, is a bully in the form of a giant robot. Although there is a little obvious fan-service in the form of a bit of Kaiju vs Robot action, the film starts to focus on the two as people, and the creation of Gloria’s monster as a child through a strike of lightning during a storm in which she witnesses a school project stolen by the wind, but ultimately destroyed by Oscar.
Gloria’s monster was always there, no different to anyone else, but using alcohol for escapism rather than dealing with her depressive state allowed it to manifest itself within her daily life and personality. In order to rid herself of the monster, she has to accept her past.
It’s best to go into the film not knowing about the entirety of its narrative, allowing the brilliant writing and character development to unravel in front of you as you witness Gloria as she hits rock bottom but learns what she must do despite the hardships of life forever edging her closer to a beer.