Monster Calls, A : Movie Review

Monster Calls, A (2016) - Movie Poster
He arrives at the window of 12-year-old Conor O'Malley (Lewis MacDougall) at exactly 12:07 a.m., a cemetery yew tree come to life. The Monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) is not here to terrorize or eat Conor, but claims to have been summoned by the boy. Over the course of several nights, always just after midnight, he will tell Conor three challenging yet human morality tales. In exchange, Conor will ultimately tell his own story. He does not yet know what said story is, but soon will. A family drama rich in fantastical metaphor, Patrick Ness' lyrical, heartrending 2011 bestseller "A Monster Calls" (based on an idea by the late Siobhan Dowd) receives an equally sensitive filmic treatment from director J.A. Bayona (2012's "The Impossible"). Advertising and marketing will no doubt skew young—from afar, it appears to be strikingly similar to another recent literary adaptation about the friendship between a child and a giant, 2016's Steven Spielberg-helmed "The BFG"—but this picture is tougher and deeper than that one, sharing more similarities with a fellow whimsically tinged film about coming-of-age and bereavement, 2007's beautifully poignant "Bridge to Terabithia."

Conor's life stands at a crossroad he is not yet willing to accept. His beloved single mom Elizabeth (Felicity Jones) is battling a tough cancer diagnosis and a series of exhausting chemotherapy treatments. Visits from his dad (Toby Kebbell), living across the pond in America with a new wife and family, are few and far between. He has never emotionally connected with his grandma (Sigourney Weaver), but must go to stay with her while his mother is in the hospital. At school, there is little respite as class bully Harry (James Melville) ramps up his taunts and abuse. When The Monster appears, creeping down from the graveyard overlooking Conor's bedroom window, the boy's fright quickly turns to curiosity, and then warmth. He is slow to admit it, but this creature is his one source of comfort as he faces the most difficult time of his still-young existence.

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Author : Dustin Putman,