A Monster Calls is a fantasy / drama film, based on the novel of the same name. The action follows protagonist Conor O’Malley (played by Lewis MacDougall), a boy whose mother Lizzie (Felicity Jones) is terminally ill.
The movie hits the ground running, dropping us right in the midst of the action. It quickly becomes apparent that young Conor has much to deal with; most pressingly, his mother’s faltering health, but also bullies at school, an absent father, and a tense relationship with his grandmother. All of this culminates in a recurring nightmare, where Conor is on the precipice of a cliff, desperately clinging to his mother’s hands to save her from falling into the abyss below.
One night, when Conor awakes from his usual nightmare, he is visited by a tree-like monster (voiced by Liam Neeson). The monster says that he will tell Conor three stories, and in return Conor must tell him one – the truth of his nightmare. The monster’s stories delve into the complexities of human nature, examining the way in which no-one is fully evil, nor fully good – both sides exist within each person. Visually, the stories are beautifully represented on screen as watercolour artwork (similar to the way ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’ was depicted in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). Art is an underlying motif throughout the film, as both Conor and his mother share a love for it.
Without giving too much more away, A Monster Calls is a heart-warming (and, at times, heart-wrenching) story that deals with themes of hope, loss, acceptance, and, at the heart of it all, imagination. One for the whole family, see the film in cinemas from the 27th of July. Watch the trailer below:
All images via A Monster Calls IMDB page.