How we as people deal with grief and loss varies from each individual. While some might lash out at the world, others will withdraw and never come back out. Movies have always tried and succeeded more often that not in conveying the human emotion. Looking down the list of upcoming releases for 2016, more than a few titles peaked my interest and got me excited, one being “A Monster Calls”
Based off the book from Patrick Ness, who also adapted it for the screen ‘A Monster Calls” is a view into humanity. Conor (Lewis MacDougall) is a quiet kid who loves to draw. His father moved out years ago leaving him with only his mother (Felicity Jones) and a Grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) who is a little too controlling for Conor’s taste. There is a reason Conor’s view of the world, being that his Mum is sick. Kids at school pick on him and often while being present in class, he is usually off in another place. One night as the clock strikes 12:07 a loud noise shakes Conor’s house, as a tree monster (Liam Neeson) visits and tells him that he is going to visit him every night to tell him three tales, with a forth one coming from Conor himself. As each tale is told, Conor’s anger grows, as he doesn’t understand whom the monster has come for in the first place. Everything comes come together, and the things Conor learns will change him forever.
When you find the right story, there is nothing like sharing it with everyone you know. “A Monster Calls” is just such a story; one that feels like it will be around for ages. For director J.S. Boyona he had to only create the world that Patrick Ness painted so well. Boyona (The Orphanage) delivers on that as he creates a world that would fit very much in the world of Guillermo del Toro. Boyona however manages to make it completely his own as he and director of photography Oscar Faura create a visually stunning world. With the world built it becomes all about the pieces that fill it, something that is delivered upon as well. MacDougall (Pan) is magnificent as his range is on full display. It’s not just MacDougall, the entire cast fits together seamlessly. There is so much heart in this story, and as it beats you can’t help to feel it fill yours with joy.
Often a movie comes along that you add to your collection, but it’s not one of those movies that sits on your shelf waiting for the rare view. Instead it is the one that will get frequent views, the ones you want to share with your friends and family and hope your kids adopt it as one of those movies that stays with them forever. “A Monster Calls” is just one of those movies, one that will feel timeless, and surface up the same feelings you had when you first watched it, every time you do. So I am getting on my mountaintop and sending out the message, because movies like this don’t come along every year.