A Monster Calls is a film that asks the question: how do we deal with the conflicting emotions that we experience when we’re grieving?  This inspiring and heartbreaking tale comes across as dark, and in some ways it is.  However, it is ultimately very cathartic and teaches a refreshing lesson in self-honesty.

Here’s the synopsis:

12-year-old Conor, dealing with his mother’s illness, a less-than-sympathetic grandmother, and bullying classmates, finds a most unlikely ally when a Monster appears at his bedroom window. Ancient, wild, and relentless, the Monster guides Conor on a journey of courage, faith, and truth.

And here’s the very well done trailer:

This movie is based on a book of the same name by Patrick Ness, who also wrote the screenplay.  It really is just a fantastic story, one that will likely move you to tears.

The film has a fantastic cast.  It stars Liam Neeson as the monster (in what I think is his first motion-capture role), Sigourney Weaver (from Alien and Ghostbusters fame), Felicity Jones (from Rogue One, which makes Jyn Erso Qui-Gon Jin’s daughter #mindblown), and newcomer Lewis McDougall.

I never ‘bought’ Sigourney Weaver’s British accent, but it oddly didn’t distract from her performance as much as I thought it would because she just really owned the overbearing-grandmother role.  Neeson gives a fine performance, however I think that he can provide his voice to almost anything and make it riveting.  I will always contend that Felicity Jones is one of the finest actresses of our time (not to mention breathtakingly beautiful) and she doesn’t disappoint at all here.  But the standout performance of this film is McDougall.  He portrays the conflicted emotions of a troubled teen extremely effectively.

If you’ve seen the trailer for this picture, you’ve likely seen that there is some animation.  And believe me when I say that the animation is hauntingly gorgeous.  It reminds me of the Tale of the Three Brothers in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, only even richer.

The music was very moving and very fitting. Spanish-born composer Fernando Velázquez brings the right amount of subtlety to the film’s score. It felt like a throwback to other British films of the 90’s.

A Monster Calls is a heartbreaking and beautifully cathartic experience.  It is gorgeous, riveting, and moving.  I loved it so much.  It’s my second favorite film of the year after Arrival.

5

Be sure to check out our review of the book the film is based on here.