A Monster Calls is definitely one of the most unusual and toughest films to market to theater patrons in a long while. Starring newcomer Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones (hot off of Rogue One) and Liam Neeson as the monster in the title, the film delves into a fantasy world full of monsters, kings and magic that serve as analogies for the ups and downs that await us in the real world. A Monster Calls maybe a hard movie to describe, but it’s one you can’t take your eyes off of thanks to its outstanding visuals, acting and emotional depth.
Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls tells the story of a young boy named Conor who is having a rough time. He doesn’t fit in at his school which is plagued with bullies, his father (Toby Kebbel) lives in America with his new family and his kind mother (Felicity Jones) is slowing dying of cancer. To make matters worse, a giant Tree Monster (Voice and Motion Captured work provided by Liam Neeson) begins to visit Conor telling the young boy three mythical stories that serve as metaphors for the drama in the young boy’s life. Conor’s life begins to spin out of control and the audience is there to witness the heartache and hope that comes from being at your worst.
A Monster Calls could be considered a tough sell since the movie plays like a fantasy film at times, yet deals with such heavy subjects such as cancer, abandonment and bullying. The story is definitely an odd mixture of themes, but that’s what makes A Monster Calls so special. The work on-screen is a coming of age story with the elements of a fairy tale as the Monster recites the three important tales which will help guide Conor through the dark times in the real world. The cast in A Monster Calls is superb, which helps you buy into the weird work director J.A. Boyona is presenting to the masses. Lewis MacDougall does amazing work in his first major role and along with Liam Neeson (Who provides so much more than just a voice) as the monster are the heart and soul of this very strange and moving film.
A Monster Calls is visually stunning experience that packs an emotional punch of reality where happy endings don’t always happen and you need to find the light when you are alone in the dark with nothing, but the monsters that haunt your dreams. Liam Neeson’s monster is one of the wisest film creatures since Yoda and will have you pondering the philosophical messages he delivers in his stories long after the movie is over. A Monster Calls is a one of a kind type film that has a simple, but incredible ending that will bring a huge smile to your face and maybe even a little tear.
Overall, I give A Monster Calls 3.5 out of 4 stars.
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