Directed By: J.A. Bayona
Release Date: December 23, 2016
Starring: Lewis MacDougall, Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver
It takes a lot to move me. I've seen countless films over the last three decades, and I've been subjected to so many projects that feel manipulative, their efforts to make audiences feel something too obvious to come off as genuine. That said, for as many times as that has happened, I have no problem coming across films that do succeed in engaging me emotionally, intellectually, or otherwise, sucking me right in, but rarely does a film strike at something so deep within me that I'm brought to tears.
To say that I've been looking forward all year long to director J.A. Bayona's A Monster Calls would be an understatement. Back in 2007, I went to see The Orphanage with little to no expectations, and came out of it having seen one of the best horror films of the modern era. Bayona became an artist I wanted to keep an eye on, and I'm thankful I did, as 2012's The Impossible was great and his work directing the first two episodes of Penny Dreadful helped pull me into the world of that series immediately. To put it lightly, A Monster Calls couldn't get here any sooner.
The film is the story of a young boy named Conor, played by Lewis MacDougall. Conor's mother, Lizzie (Felicity Jones), is battling an undefined terminal illness, which has forced Conor to deal with a situation no one his age should ever have to go through. His father (Toby Kebbell) lives in the U.S. with his own family, his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) isn't a woman he can find any connection with, and - to top it all off - he's bullied at school, where he has no friends, effectively leaving him alone in the world to watch as the one thing he truly loves slowly fades away.
And then, late one night - and living up to the film's title - a monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) calls, showing up with a mandate for Conor: The monster is there to help, and to do so, he will return to tell Conor three different tales. Once finished, Conor will in turn tell him a fourth, even though Conor has no idea what purposes the stories serve or what exactly the monster is expecting to hear from him.
Pick a Month: