A Monster Calls is directed by J.A. Bayona and based on the hauntingly poignant novel by award winning author Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking trilogy).
The movie presents an immersive, emotional journey through the complex landscape of grief, imagination, and the unforgiving reality of growing up.
Starring Liam Neeson as the voice of the towering, mythic Monster, the film not only captivates the senses with its stunning visual effects but also captures the heart with its deeply emotional narrative.
This is not just a movie for kids; it's a nuanced, layered exploration of heavy themes, designed to resonate with adults as well.
What Is A Monster Calls About?
The film introduces us to Conor O'Malley, a young British boy grappling with his mother's terminal illness and the harshness of life in a world that seems unforgiving.
Between caring for his ailing mother and facing bullies at school, Conor finds solace in his sketches and drawings, which serve as a temporary escape from reality.
But as his mother's condition worsens, so does his sense of desperation and loneliness.
Enter the Monster, a colossal yew tree-like creature voiced by Liam Neeson. The Monster comes to Conor with the promise of telling him three tales, in exchange for one “truth” from Conor himself.
Each of the Monster's stories is a morally complex fable that challenges black-and-white thinking, and they all serve to guide Conor through his emotional labyrinth, forcing him to confront his deepest fears and conflicts.
As Conor listens to the Monster's tales and tries to find their relevance in his own life, he must also navigate his relationship with his strict grandmother, his absentee father, and his diminishing hope for his mother's recovery.
The film cleverly interweaves the various plot threads, creating a rich tapestry that presents both the fantastical and the mundane elements of Conor's life.
A Monster Calls Official Trailer
Is A Monster Calls Worth Watching?
A Monster Calls is a masterpiece in storytelling. It doesn't shy away from tackling heavy themes like terminal illness, grief, and the complexities of moral choices. It's a tear-jerker that encourages introspection.
The visual effects, especially the rendering of the Monster, are captivating and serve as a narrative device as much as a spectacle. The animation segments for the Monster's stories are also beautifully done.
Liam Neeson's voice acting adds gravitas to the Monster, making it an unforgettable character. But he's not alone in delivering a spectacular performance. The entire cast delivers, making each character multi-dimensional and relatable.
While the rating for the movie is quite low at PG-13, the film can feel a bit slow or ponderous at times, potentially losing the attention of younger viewers.
Plus there's a lot of ambiguity with few straightforward resolutions which may frustrate some viewers.
That aside, A Monster Calls is a beautiful but profoundly sad story that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.
A Monster Calls Movie Cast
Lewis MacDougall as Conor O'Malley, a young boy dealing with his mother's illness
- Max Golds as 5-year-old Conor
Liam Neeson (The Ice Road) as the yew tree monster, a giant humanoid yew tree.
Tom Holland stood-in for the Monster during one week of production.
Sigourney Weaver as Mrs. Clayton, Conor’s strict grandmother.
Felicity Jones (Star Wars Rogue One) as Lizzie Clayton, Conor’s beloved and devoted mother who is diagnosed with an unspecified terminal illness.
Toby Kebbell as Liam O'Malley, Conor’s father who is divorced from Lizzie.
James Melville as Harry, a school bully who frequently targets Conor.
Geraldine Chaplin as the head teacher of Conor’s school.
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