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Rated 3.18 stars
by 214 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Both Sad and Miraculous
by Betty Jo Tucker

A Monster Calls impressed me with the remarkable way it combines the sad reality of a young boyís life and the fantasy world he creates to deal with his problems. Conor, played by Lewis MacDougall, faces bullying, a deadbeat dad, an emotionally distant grandmother and a terminally ill mother. No wonder heís angry and acts out. Itís very hard for him to deal with the truth, especially about his motherís condition. It takes a gigantic tree monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) to make Conor realize and accept whatís really happening.


A monster and a boy we see

in this miraculous movie.

About his mom, the boy seems sad.

Her illness preys upon this lad.


A monster soon appears to him.

But is he real or out of Grimm?

No matter which, this boy needs help.

Will he agree without a yelp?


A MONSTER CALLS pleases the eye.

Visual effects soar to the sky.

Neeson makes the huge monster sound

 like nothing you have ever found. 


Emotive scenes tug at your heart.

Each actor excels in their part.  

Refreshing is a film like this

with nothing here for me to dis.


Director J. A. Bayona (The Impossible) uses an almost magical touch in bringing Patrick Nessí touching screenplay (adapted from his novel) to life on the big screen. Heís ably assisted by Oscar Fauraís (The Impossible) marvelous cinematography as well as amazing work by special/visual effects artists and by cast members who make everything happening seem so real.

As Conor, MacDougall draws us into this characterís dreary world right away, and we canít help being sorry for him -- even when heís a very bad boy. We feel his deep love for his ill Mum (Felicity Jones), and we understand why he so desperately wants her to be cured. Jones (Oscar nominee for The Theory of Everything) almost breaks your heart in the role of Conorís mother. Sigourney Weaver (Avatar) turns in a remarkable performance as the no-nonsense grandmother, and Toby Kebbell (War Horse) delivers an excellent portrayal of Conorís usually absent dad.      

But itís the giant Tree Monster who steals this show. Neesonís (Taken) growly voice and the way the gnarly creature looks so scary but then becomes so helpful to Conor won me over completely. Too bad there is no Oscar given out for ďBest Voiced-By Character.Ē Neeson would win the 2016 honor, hands -- or limbs -- down.   

(Released by Focus Features and rated ďPG-13Ē for thematic content and some scary images.)

For more information about A Monster Calls, go to the IMDb  or Rotten Tomatoes site.

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