A Monster Calls: "It Is Not Important What You think. It Is Only Important What You Do"

Director: J. A. Bayona
Writer:    Patrick Ness
Starring: Lewis MacDougall
                Felicity Jones
                Sigourney Weaver
                Toby Kebbell
                Liam Neeson
Rating:    ***

Release Date: Out Now

When I first saw the trailer for A Monster Calls, I pictured a very different film from the one that I ended up watching. The film was far more emotional and raw than the fun fantasy film I was envisioning; and I can't say that was a good or a bad thing.

Based on the book of the same name, written by Patrick Ness, it follows a young boy struggling with bullies, not fitting in, a strained relationship with his grandmother, no father around and a mum dying from an illness. Not exactly a happy life for him. I have never read the book, so don;t know if that is how the book goes, but that is the film; and it is dark.

Lewis MacDougall & Felicity Jones
Visited by a mysterious tree-like monster, who tells the boy that he will visit him and tell hims three different stories, and on the fourth visit, the boy must tell him a story. This story is about the fact he can't let go of his mother. It is brutal viewing and high impact on the emotions. It just never quite flows or feels comfortable.

Lewis MacDougall portrays they young boy, Conor, and he is mature and strong in his performance. There are moments that feel monotone and more wooden, but for a child actor with a dark story to tell, he does a terrific job and carries the heavy film firmly on his shoulders.

The adult supporting cast don;t quite live up to their many accolades and successes. Felicity Jones feels extremely underused and gets little to truly lose herself in. Also surprised me was Sigourney Weaver, who's British accent had me scratching my head and confused about its origins. While her performance was filled with depth and vulnerability, her accent grew distracting.

Sigourney Weaver
Liam Neeson voices the imposing monster, and as always his voice delivers. One of the most recognisable voices in the industry, and it still sends shivers down my spine. Booming, intimidating and warm, the monster is a creature to fear and welcome, and Neeson shows this with just his vocals.

Director J. A. Bayona has directed a beautiful movie visually, with the monsters stories being re-imagined through beautiful watercolour animations. However the flow is often clunky, and the cast sometimes lose their characters and fall flat. A Monster Calls is an emotional tale of grief, but it did not live up t what I was expecting.

A Monster Calls - Trailer