Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Monster Calls

Movie Name: A Monster Calls
Year of Release: 2016
Director: J. A. Bayona
Stars: Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Liam Neeson, Ben Moor
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
View Trailer Here

Director Juan Antonio Bayona is back, with his third feature, following the well received "The Orphanage" and "The Impossible". "A Monster Calls" is an adaptation of the novel by Patrick Ness, and follows the story of Conor, a young British boy, who is going through some trying times. Conor's mother is slowly fading away due to a serious ailment, and his father has a new life (and family) in America. Conor is having to live with his grandmother, while his mother receives treatments at the local hospital. Conor has a fantastical imagination and talent for drawing. One evening he receives the visit of a large tree that has suddenly come to life, and who informs him that it will tell him three stories, and Conor will have to narrate back a fourth story of his own.
This heartbreaking fable, manages to give an interesting canvas for the director whom has had a knack for young protagonists in his features. His heroes or central characters are usually young boys who are dealing with hardship that comes in the shape of their motherly figure being absent or possibly being removed, and how that affects their vision of the world (or how it molds it). "A Monster Calls" places two motherly figures in the center: the one who's being removed, the natural mother, and a new figure, somewhat a stranger, the slightly cold Grandmother whom the hero has to know better, in order for his life to continue. The film uses the monster character as a reminder for the hero of stories that apparently disconnected, eventually come back to his relationship with his mother. It's a film that weaves a delicate relationship between these characters - even if the supporting characters don't have much dimension to them. The assembled cast is wonderful, particular the trio of Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones. The visual effects are tremendous, as is the fine score from Fernando Velazquez. A good film worth watching.