Movie Review - A Monster Calls

Photo taken by me – The Footage pub sign, Manchester
Preston, England
January 6, 2017 1:06pm CST
2016 – Spoiler alerts A beautiful but tear-jerking heart wrenching fantasy movie about a boy trying to escape grim reality through a fantasy scenario that throws him right back to the situations facing him in the real world. Young Conor’s mum is seriously, terminally ill, and his efforts to stand by her are thwarted by her assurances that she is getting better, her eagerness to leave him with a well meaning but strict, aloof house-proud grand-mother and his estranged father. Conor’s distance gets him ignored at school by all but the school bullies who see him as easy prey. Conor finds himself engaged by an ancient tree entity who insists on sharing cryptic folk-tales lacking in traditional happy endings. Villains win thrones, but then rule wisely, innocent children die of plague, magicians withhold their powers, a man defeating his enemies becomes even less happy in his victory than before he embarked on his quest for vengeful justice. Conor is given to monstrous behaviour himself with random bursts of vandalism and angry rage, with the tree monster trying to help him come to terms with uncomfortable, inescapable truths he tries to avoid. The animated stories are brilliantly crafted and the effects on the giant Groot-like un-named Monster voiced by Aslan are great too, and this is a potent emotionally challenging journey to what Conor and the viewers will know early on, cannot be a traditional happy ever after. The story itself was conceived and started by a cancer patient, Siobhan Dowd, but she died early on in the project which was taken up in book form by Patrick Ness who helped bring the story to the screen too. Nice that scenes were filmed in Bolton, Manchester and Preston, three towns with strong ties to my own life. Arthur Chappell
8 people like this
7 responses
@msiduri (5757)
• United States
19 Jan 17
Having just dealt with cancer (happily, successfully ducked a bullet with no more than Band-Aids on my belly), this is still a bit too much for me right now. At the same time, nicely reviewed. A lot of info conveyed in a few words.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
19 Jan 17
@msiduri so good that you beat the Big C - well done
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5757)
• United States
19 Jan 17
@arthurchappell Thanks. considering it was a minor brush with it, I can hardly say I did much of anything, but I'm glad it's over.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
19 Jan 17
@msiduri must have been scary for you at the time I expect
1 person likes this
• Midland, Michigan
25 Jan 17
I was going to ask what the name of the movie is, but realized that's part of this title. Sounds interesting. If I can find it in one of the rental places around here, I'd definitely watch it.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
26 Jan 17
@MarshaMusselman still on cinema release so not likely to be rentable here for months
1 person likes this
• Midland, Michigan
26 Jan 17
@arthurchappell I'll probably forget all about it later on then, but we'll see.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
26 Jan 17
@MarshaMusselman I often do that too with many books and movies
1 person likes this
8 Jan 17
I held off on reading this as I knew I was going to see it today. It is one of the most beautiful, yet brutal, films I have ever seen.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
10 Jan 17
@Poppylicious very much how I felt - the ending is obvious from near the start but it is such a powerful way to get there
@Jessicalynnt (47791)
• Centralia, Missouri
7 Jan 17
interesting idea, but too sad for me
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
7 Jan 17
@Jessicalynnt it is certainly not a feelgood movie but it is quite lovely
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (51973)
• Los Angeles, California
6 Jan 17
I have interest in this one. Felicity Jones is the mum and Sigourney Weaver.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
6 Jan 17
@JohnRoberts yes, they play the roles perfectly
@Happy2BeMe (73968)
• Canada
6 Jan 17
That sounds like a good movie and I that I would enjoy.
1 person likes this
6 Jan 17
I want to watch this movie.
1 person likes this