A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls Review

Honestly, I’m not sure A Monster Calls even exists. I’m keeping it well within the realm of possibility that the movie lives entirely in my head. I don’t know anybody else who has seen. Nobody I talk to has heard of it. There was only one other person in the theater when I watched it and if I’m creating fictional movies, why not create fictional human beings who also enjoy my fictional movies.

It just seems a bit too convenient that A Monster Calls delivered the exact message I needed to hear at the exact time I needed to hear it.

A Monster Calls is, supposedly, a movie about a boy (Connor) who’s mother is dying of cancer. As a coping mechanism, he begins to see a giant tree monster. The giant tree monster teaches Connors lessons about life. The crux of the movie comes down to the monster getting Connor to admit a truth he has been hiding.

I’m lucky enough to not be in need of coping skills for a loved one with cancer. But the concepts explored in A Monster Calls are absolutely applicable in my life. I’m sure it would be applicable to your life too. All you have to do is crawl inside my head and watch the movie.

Apparently that’s the only place willing to screen the film.

I apologize in advance for the sobbing. I hope it isn’t too distracting while my mind replays the movie. It’s just that by the time we get to the reveal of Connor’s truth, I just won’t be able to keep my emotions in check. My God. That moment is… hard to watch. And even harder to explain to someone without blubbering all your words.

A Monster Calls is a tough movie to criticize. I really don’t want to do it. It does so much right and nobody saw it so I feel bad putting it down, even for innocuous reasons. Ugh. Fine. But I’ll do it quick:

The Cast: The cast is great. But, it’s kind of weird that Sigourney Weaver was cast as the grandma. Not that Sigourney Weaver isn’t a great actress or that she hinders the movie, but she kind of struggles with the accent. British actors are commonplace in American roles. It’s weird to see it go the other way.

The Music: The music is kind of unremarkable. I don’t really remember anything special about the music. But this may be caused entirely by the fact that the trailer (which may not actually exist) is accompanied by “Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun” by M83 (a band that I’m pretty sure exists). This set an incredibly high bar. In hindsight I’m not surprised the actual score didn’t clear that hurdle.

The Ending: The ending of A Monster Calls is incredible. It will decimate your soul. I (and my imaginary movie friend) were floored by the ending sequence. But then the damn movie kept going and tacked on one more completely unnecessary scene that undermines the strength of the finale. My best guess for this dumb add-on is that the director wanted to give the audience more time to wipe their eyes before the lights came back up.

And that’s it for complaints. Nothing terrible. An iffy accent, music that isn’t as good as M83 and a pre-post-credits scene. Nothing that could possible topple the rest of A Monster Calls.

The incredible performances of Connor, Mum and the Monster can’t be undone. The spectacular visuals can’t be unseen. The heart-crushing message can’t be unheard.

A Monster Calls is a movie that families, friends, loved ones and loners should all see. It doesn’t take the easy route, instead it implored the viewer to look deeper into the meaning behind our thoughts and actions while we deal with grief.

That is, if A Monster Calls ever existed in the first place.

The Monster

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