A MONSTER CALLS (2016) News3LV.com Score: A
“TOO OLD TO BE A KID, TOO YOUNG TO BE A MAN.”
This is a lovely, lovely film filled with artistry, enchantment and a moral lesson. This is one of the few films of 2016 that I can actually recommend families to all attend together. And then sit down and have a serious discussion. Children need to be listened to. Like all of us, they have their sensitivities, feelings and fears.
A MONSTER CALLS is based upon the award-winning 2011 Patrick Ness novel. The theme of how we cope, let alone survive — the death of a parent, is deeply serious. It is the story of a lonely, emotionally wounded 12-year-old boy, played by Lewis MacDougall; and the massive woody monster who befriends him, voiced and performed by Liam Neeson. Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver round out the cast.
From my screening notes: “I HAVE COME TO GET YOU, CONOR O’MALLEY!”
The tree monster makes contact at Connor’s bedroom window. “I HAVE COME TO TELL YOU THREE STORIES.” Then the monster says the following: YOU WILL THEN TELL ME A FOURTH.”
Bayona creates a breathtaking use of animation, rarely seen in today’s movies. He creates a palette of watercolors and animated cutouts. What is fantasy ? And what is reality ?
Full credit for this little masterpiece goes to the 41 year old Spanish film director, J.A. Bayona. The film succeeds due to the astonishing blending of live-action, CGI and traditional animation.