A Monster Calls is a 2016 dark fantasy drama film directed by J. A. Bayona and written by Patrick Ness, based on his novel of the same name. The film stars Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, and Liam Neeson, and tells the story of Conor (MacDougal), a child whose mother (Jones) is terminally ill; one night, he is visited by a giant tree-like monster (Neeson), who states that he will come back and tell him three stories.
A Monster Calls premiered on September 10, 2016, at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. It was then released in Spain on October 7, 2016, and in the United Kingdom on January 1, 2017. In the United States, the film began a limited release in on December 23, 2016, followed by a wide release on January 6, 2017. It received praise for its themes, directing, performances and visual effects, although the writing was considered by some as overly dark. The film was a domestic disappointment grossing just $3.7 million, and has grossed $43 million worldwide.
The monster does not come walking often. This time it comes to Connor, and it asks for the one thing Connor cannot bring himself to do. Tell the truth. This is a very touching story about a boy who feels very damaged, guilty and mostly angry. He struggles at school with bullies, and pity looks from everyone, and at home with his mother’s sickness. Will Connor overcome his problems? Will everything be okay? Will Connor be able to speak the truth?
This is one that was heavily compared to Steven Spielberg’s The BFG from earlier this year, a movie that I really liked that a lot of peole did not, and for the most part, it is a very different and much darker movie than The BFG and a slightly better movie than The BFG is.
The movie works because of a number of aspects. One is the visual look of the movie, which is staggeringly beautiful, the cinematography by Óscar Faura is beautiful and the direction by Juan Antonio Bayona is spectacular.
The casting is very good, Lewis MacDougall is very good as Conor, this is a really good kid actor that hopefully gets more film work in the years to come. Felicity Jones has a nice little role as Conor’s mother, Sigourney Weaver is very good in this as is Toby Kebell and Liam Neeson perfectly fits the voice of the monster in this like when you see this monster in this movie, the voice perfectly matches up with the character.
The movie packs on a tightly written and nicely handled script by the author of the novel, Patrick Ness, the script does a really good job of packing the emotional impact of the story and developing the characters very well.
20 years ago, A Monster Calls would’ve been a PG rated dark family adventure on the level of Labyrinth of Return To Oz but as is stands today, it’s not only a great movie as it is but it’s one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve seen in a while, a nicely told, very dark, very emotional, well acted, visually brilliant movie that I think was severely overlooked big time at the box office. It’s available now on Blu-Ray, I highly recommend checking it out today.
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