A Monster Calls or as I’d like to call it “Me, Groot, and the Dying Girl.”
A simple story told in a poignant manner; A Monster Calls affects you. Even without a personal reference to a dearly beloved succumbing to illness, I assure you that tears will be shed and hearts will be crushed.
Its polished screenplay uncompromisingly weaves its more mental themes of truth and morality within the central drama of acceptance and mortality. These are told through a fantastical approach, in the reins of Where the Wild Things Are, but not through the depths of Pan’s Labyrinth. It seemed clunky at first as I don’t see Liam Neeson‘s voice quality a perfect fit to the unnamed tree-like monster of wisdom, while the character’s design doesn’t evoke the terror the soundscape has introduced. Thankfully, the film courses its sail to the heart of the matter and this detaches us from nitpicking the skin of the fruit it bears.
Engaging the soul, A Monster Calls bypasses convenient melodrama and pierces a needle straight to our hearts through its small ensemble’s fine acting, which delivers the weight of a parent (Sigourney Weaver) and a son (Lewis MacDougall) of a terminally-ill mother (Felicity Jones). The great sense of anguish emanates from the screen as these pivotal scenes come unadorned, scoreless, and the production lush without being boastful — rendering the human connection authentic. More than the thinking process of how the monster and his own stories become allegories to the young child’s waking life, it is this terrific exploration of the continuum of grief that leaves you weakened yet complete as there is still empathy left in you.