By Shelby Fielding (Lubbock, Texas, US)
A Monster Calls: A Powerful Coming of Age Story
A Monster Calls is the brand new coming of age story based on the highly acclaimed novel written by Patrick Ness titled “A Monster Calls”. This film tells the story of a 12 year-old boy named Conor, who is coping with his single mum’s terminal illness. This causes him to call a Monster for help and to help him in many other ways. This is a beautiful and emotionally powerful film that combines mature themes with a childhood environment.
This film is directed by J.A Bayona and he did a brilliant job with this film. This film is such a powerful film about accepting maturity and becoming an adult and understanding the real ways of life. Understanding that things are not always painted as black and white like they appear to us as children’s, and being able to cope with that by accepting responsibility along with maturity. As far as filmmaking goes I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of effort put into this film. J.A Bayona does a brilliant job of combining artistic and mature direction with the imagination and innocence of a children’s film. The visual effects are incredible. The Monster looks amazing and blends in beautifully with this film’s setting, which is done very well. You really feel as if you are this small town entrapped by familiarity and this feeling of home.
The editing is done very well, and it does a great job of combining the films narratives. As far as performances go, Lewis MacDougall is incredible in this film. He shows so much maturity as an actor and really holds nothing back with this performance. Felicity Jones is also really good, and Liam Neeson does a brilliant job with his voice acting. Sigourney Weaver also does an incredible job. Overall this film reminds me so much of great children’s films like E.T. But, this is not a perfect film it does have flaws. Specifically with its screenplay and how it handles its mature messages. Sometime the messages are to upfront and can cause distraction from the film’s main narrative. The structure of the film could also be viewed as little messy with its timing. By that I mean how the film rushes its introduction to its characters but then loses pace by focusing on its background or exposition.
Overall this is a film that I highly recommend you go see. I don’t recommend bringing a child unless they are 10 and older, because the film is so mature that if they are younger than that they might lose interest when the film focuses on character development and not the monster itself. This film encompasses brilliant direction and really great performances, but it does lose traction with how it structures itself along with how it delivers its messages. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed A Monster Calls and I’m going to give at an A-. What did you guys think? What is your favorite childhood movie? What’s your favorite coming to age film? Let me know down in the comments below and as always have a blessed day.
Conor: How does this story begin?
The Monster: It begins like so many stories. With a boy, too old to be a kid, too young to be a man. And a nightmare.
Conor: You’re going to tell me stories?
The Monster: I am. I will tell you three stories, and when I have finished my stories, you will tell me a fourth.
Conor: I don’t know anything about stories!
The Monster: You will tell me a fourth, and it will be the truth.
Conor: What are you talking about?
The Monster: This truth that you hide. The truth you dream. You will tell me your nightmare.
The Monster: Yes, that will be your truth.
Conor: And if I don’t?
Liam Neeson First Chapter Reading: