Directed by J.A. Bayona, A Monster Calls is based on the book with the same name. It stars Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Sigourney Weaver, Lewis MacDougall, and Liam Neeson. the film is about Conor (Lewis MacDougall) is a young boy who tries to deal with his mother (Felicity Jones) having cancer and dealing with bullies at school. Every night, Conor would have nightmares and would encounter a tree monster (Liam Neeson). This tree monster is trying to help Conor and fix his unhappiness with three tales. Coming into this movie, I didn’t know much about it. I saw the trailer before La La Land and I was hooked. Also, my fiancée really wanted to catch this movie since she read the book.
There’s a lot of great actors in this and all of them shine. Liam Nesson was excellent as The Tree Monster. Sigourney Weaver was great as the Grandma. Felicity Jones and Toby Kebbell were also great as Conor’s parents. But Lewis MacDougall stole the show. I didn’t know this young actor was the age of 14 until my fiancée mentioned it. He literally carries this movie and reflects Conor’s inner conflict.
The visual effects were pretty stunning and impressive of how it interacted with the real environment that it was in. In all honesty, I was pretty surprised. And what I mean by surprise is that I was expecting The Tree Monster to be the only effect in the film. The Tree Monster tells three tales to Coner and all three are done in a visual dye artwork/watercolor and it’s beautiful to look at.
My only problems are that the film feels too short. The film is under two hours, so there isn’t enough interaction with mom before she gets sick. Also, this is going to be a hard sell. It may be too dark for younger children but 13-year old’s might find it “too kiddy” when it’s far from it. Hope it does well but I can see it ending up in more arthouse places here. Not sure how popular the book is, although I know Patrick Ness is a pretty well established “Young Adult” author. So maybe it’ll get good word-of-mouth from the book’s fans. I liked the film so much that I’ll be getting the book in a few weeks, I’m excited to read it! Overall, A Monster Calls is one of the saddest films I ever experienced. A gorgeous but tragic film that will have you feeling emotions throughout its course. Check it out once it hits theaters in your area.
SUPERSAM RATING: 9/10.