A Monster Calls tells the story of a boy who seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mother’s terminal illness.
I first came across this film when I read the book it was based off in a place i stayed in Greece where there was a small collection of novels left behind by the owners. It’s a brilliant little drama and though it may seem like a film aimed at children, it’s not something I would recommend for children under the age of ten as it deals with bullying and terminal illness. It’s an honestly dark film but beautifully haunting.
Youngster Lewis MacDougall gives a true and honest performance in only his second film after Pan (2015). He carries a film so heavy with grief and ridden with guilt with an insurmountable strength.
The major props for this film, apart from the performance given by MacDougall, is the art design and the animations told by Liam Neeson’s monster tree. It’s very similar to the animations in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Not only where the animations truly effective in the telling of the stories, it was also the incorporation of Neeson’s monster into MacDougall’s character’s everyday life.
Fernando Velazquez’s composition helped aid the film effectively into a sombre mood.
A Monster Calls is what Steven Spielberg’s The BFG should’ve been. Smartly clever and darkly beautiful from beginning to the end. It is truly a heart wrenching coming of age story that’s a must see, a well adapted film, and will bring you to tears.