A Monster Calls (2016)

A Monster Calls
Director: J.A. Bayona
Writer: Patrick Ness
Based on: his and Siobhan Dowd’s novel
Cast: Lewis MacDougallSigourney WeaverFelicity JonesToby KebbellBen MoorJames MelvilleGeraldine ChaplinLiam Neeson
Seen on: 9.5.2017

Conor (Lewis MacDougall) has been having horrible nightmares for quite some time now. So when he hears a voice (Liam Neeson) at exactly 12.07 am that calls from him from the graveyard not far from his house, he is not particularly impressed. Not even when the yew tree in said graveyard gets up and comes to him, insisting that he was the one who called it. The monster promises Conor three stories that will help him, then Conor will have to tell his own story – the story of the nightmare he dreams almost every night.

A Monster Calls is a simply wonderful film. Based on the wonderful book, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it is always nice, when the film keeps the promise and potential of the book.

A Monster Calls sticks really close to the novel – probably the effect of having the author of the novel write the script as well. And the story generally translates well to the screen, maybe also because it comes illustrated. Especially since the film really works with the visual aspect of the story, including great special effects and animations. The monster itself is wonderful, and the story it tells are also beautifully done.

I also loved the cast, above all Lewis MacDougall. He is simply fantastic – always doubly amazing in an actor this young. But I also really enjoyed Weaver’s performance in particular. She imbues her character with a great mix of sternness and emotion.

The only thing that I didn’t love about the movie was the very last scene that ties the end of the story basically to before its beginning. That was a little too cheesy in a film that otherwise wins by openly and honestly examining (ambivalent) emotions.

But other than that, I really have no complaints about the film. It was a wonderfully made, smart and extremely touching.

Summarizing: close to perfection.

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