This film was based on a book I didn’t read. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into the theater but the trailer was promising. I knew the basic premise would be a child’s imagination taking over to cope with the fact his mother is dying. So let’s dive in and take a look at “A Monster Calls” in this box office review…
The film deals with emotionally challenging concepts. The main character Conor, played by Lewis MacDougall, was a troubled boy who is coming to terms with the fact his mother is dying. He also deals with a school bully and the fact his grandmother is trying to get his mother into better care all the while having him move in with her. Finally, his father is visiting from California and won’t commit to having him move across the ocean to live with him. This poor child is dealing with so much it’s no wonder he falls deep into his imagination to escape this difficult reality. The supporting staff does their part to help keep the pacing so that the film doesn’t ever drag or feel lost. However, this story is about Conor and the manner in which he copes with his life.
The overall delivery of the film is reminiscent of Tim Burton’s style of visual story telling. However, the plot is told in two ways. The first is the live action story in which the boy deals with life and befriends a strange tree monster. The second is done with animation. The tree monster tells Conor that he has three tales to tell him and then Conor will tell him a story. The three different tales were actually my favorite part of this film. If you watched “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1” you saw an animated sequence entitled “The Tale of 3 Brothers.” The three stories in this movie looked very similar to the “Tale of 3 Brothers” animation style. This was definitely a highlight for me. Each story was designed to challenge the boys thought process and his ability to perceive the world and things that occur. Who is right? Who is wrong? What is noble and just? What is selfish? All in all, the 3 stories were great in my opinion and they looked equally wonderful.
“A Monster Calls” is in theaters now. I won’t recommend a big screen viewing even though I loved the overall style and tone of the film. This is a movie that’s worth seeing but it didn’t give me a feeling of joy or relief by the end. Instead, I felt emotionally exhausted for this poor boy and was also happy I took time to enjoy this story. It’s definitely worth a Redbox of VOD viewing. However, don’t be surprised if you don’t revisit the film later. It’s a movie that’s made well and is also emotionally taxing. Plus the 3 tales the tree monster tells are all great. So that alone is worth the time spent with this movie.