A Monster Calls is one of those films you might only need to see once, but it’s also a film that you should make sure you see at least once. The subject matter is difficult but the presentation of it is what makes it so compelling…
The story focuses on a boy named Conor and his mother who is slowly dying from a terminal disease. One of the main points of the movie is how Conor is processing his mother’s passing and the both of them facing this harsh reality. That’s the hard part of watching this beautiful piece, but with the way that the story is told, you can’t help but to watch. The way Conor deals with the situation is through a series of conversations and storytelling sessions with “the monster” who is there to lead him through his journey.
The monster tells Conor a number of stories meant to provide him with the emotional tools he’ll need to support his mother and himself as she slowly slips away. It’s sad, amazing, heartbreaking and even uplifting at times. The stories themselves allow you to get lost in the narrative along the way while teaching you something important by the time the story ends.
Part of what makes this film work, besides the intriguing script, are the performances. The actors are all excellent, the standout being Lewis MacDougall who plays Conor. And I have to note that while I’m sighting him as the standout, that’s saying a lot as he’s up there alongside the likes of Sigourney Weaver as his grandmother, Felicity Jones as his mother, and Liam Neeson playing the monster. And while all the talent here is quite good in their roles, MacDougall is the one who sets the bar.
The effects and the production are as well crafted as the script and the actor’s performances. All-in-all it’s a powerful, emotional and entertaining film and absolutely worth a viewing.
reviewed by Sean McKnight