Friday, January 6, 2017
Movie Review: A Monster Calls
Before I saw it, I thought A Monster Calls was a children's movie, but it definitely is not - it deals with adult themes, and is rated PG-13 for a reason. It's actually based upon a book, too, of the same name, which was published in 2013; the rights to the movie were snapped up in 2014.
One evening, Conor (Lewis MacDougall) is met with a strange scene: the yew tree from the graveyard in their backyard has come to life (voiced by Liam Neeson), and tells him that he will tell Conor three stories. Conor will then need to tell the tree a fourth story, about the nightmares that Conor has been having. Conor's mom (Felicity Jones) is dying of cancer, and his grandma (Sigourney Weaver) has been taking care of him; on top of that, he's being bullied at school, and he lacks the spine to stand up to the bullies. The Monster will teach Conor how to stand up to these bullies, and more - when their "lessons" are done, Conor will have learned much from The Monster.
The acting was very good here, especially by MacDougall, Jones, and Weaver. What's interesting is that later on in the movie, we see a collection of family photos, and there's one with Conor's mom as a little girl with Liam Neeson, who voices the monster; I'm assuming he was her (now deceased) grandfather, but I'm not sure if that's connected to The Monster at all.
Yes, see this movie. I'd compare it to Pan's Labyrinth a bit, but someone else compared it to The BFG, and I'd agree with that as well; it's definitely a darker version of that movie, though, and not as whimsical (in fact, this movie was much darker than I thought it would be). You'll want to bring some Kleenex for this film, too, if you cry easily - I didn't cry during it, but most of it is (obviously) quite sad. Unfortunately, this film was largely passed over during award season (unless it somehow manages to get an Oscars nomination), which is a shame because it's definitely worth seeing.
A Monster Calls is in theaters today, January 6th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 108 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.