Stories are wild creatures.
A boy attempts to deal with his mother's illness and the bullying of his classmates by escaping to a fantastical world.
Going into A Monster Calls, I knew very little about the movie. A boy calls a monster to fight bullies or something and it is based on a children’s book. That is all I knew and I did not expect too much from the film. Boy, was I wrong. Pleasantly wrong, in fact. Saying that this is a must-see film might be going a little too far, but bare minimum it comes within a stone’s throw of that territory. Going into detail without spoilers is something of a challenge for this film, so just know that it teaches a life lesson that’s in a gray area.
A Monster Calls is a family movie and could be best described as a coming of age film. The very first line of the film describes protagonist Conor as too old to be a kid but too young to be a man. Many coming of age films are the same; some unusual circumstance results in a youth learning a valuable lesson. Conor’s situation in A Monster Calls is not entirely unusual, but the presence of the Monster makes it extraordinary. Do not let the premise of the movie turn you off to it; this film is anything but generic.
While the film is overall good with its effects, acting, and so forth, it is the emotion that truly makes this movie unique. The entire film just felt…sad. Not a cry your heart out type of sadness or a few gut-wrenching moments here and there. The whole movie just had this steady sadness, this borderline misery that is not going away and you do not know if it will ever get better. That is not to say that everything else about the movie is not good; the art, effects, acting, and everything else are very wholesome.
The film is not 100% perfect and seems to shy just a bit of being considered a masterpiece. While the theme of the movie is directed at children, it is not meant for small children. Think of A Monster Calls more as an age 10 and up film. The movie may not appeal to everyone and parts of the film may leave more open to interpretation than some people like. That being said, unless this film is extremely against your tastes it is 100% worth watching. Just may bring a box of tissues when you do watch it.