A Monster Calls was probably my most anticipated movie coming into the 2017 year. It looked like a fantastic concept, full of cool effects and a great list of actors and actresses. In particular Sigourney Weaver, who gives a good performance in even the worst of her roles.
After seeing A Monster Calls, I was completely blown away. The story, the acting, the visuals, eveything, was all very compelling.
A Monster Calls centers around a young, creative boy named Conor (Lewis MacDougall), whose mother (Felicity Jones) is suffering from a terminal illness. When his mother’s illness becomes significantly worse, he is sent to live with his stern and uptight grandmother (Sigourney Weaver). Conor struggles to cope with all of this, so his imagination conjures up a giant monster (Liam Neeson) to help him carry on. The monster tells Conor very old stories that can apply to his own life in the present.
I’m usually not a fan of child actors, I often find them annoying and frankly just bad at acting. However I felt that Lewis MacDougall was an amazing exception to my usual feelings. A Monster Calls relied entirely on our ability to emotionally connect with Conor and feel for his pain and suffering. I personally was able to enjoy Conor’s character and understand his plight. I feel many others will be able to emotionally invest in Conor’s well-being as well.
Whenever the monster tells his stories to Conor the film cuts to these beautiful computer animations. The animation is made to seem like it was water colored on paper, but also has this three dimensional aspect to it. It reminds me of the animated scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, which were very similar. The animation is very pleasing to watch and fits the dark and somber tone of A Monster Calls very nicely.
At the close of A Monster Calls, I took a quick glance around the theater at the couple dozen or so people seated. Not a single person was dry eyed. From young teenagers to fully grown men, everyone was crying at how heart breaking (and at the same time uplifting) it was. When the credits scrolled, not a single person spoke. Everyone exited the theater completely silent, lost in deep thought about the film we just experienced. That is the mark of a truly thought provoking film.
And at its core, that’s what A Monster Calls really is, an experience. It teaches us many valuable lessons that can be carried along later on in life. How we can cope with even the most difficult problems we face, but that we must be brave enough to face them. That not everything in life is black and white, good vs. evil, and so forth. These are all important lessons to be taught and A Monster Calls teaches them well.
I would recommend this to anyone who is up for a very heavy handed film. It is compelling, poignant, and full of all kinds of emotions. It tackles very difficult subject matter in a mature and confrontational way. A Monster Calls is a fantastically emotional film that serves as a great kickoff to the 2017 year.
The Verdict: A