A Monster CallsLondon Film Festival 2016
6th October 2016 7.15pm at Odeon Leicester Square
7th October 2016 11.30am at Odeon Leicester Square
11th October 2016 6.15pm at Hackney Picturehouse
Movies are seldom so good that they completely wreak your heart, but A Monster Calls is a rare, wondrous gem like that. Originally a much celebrated novel by author Patrick Ness, it is now an excellent film with a superb cast aided by the directorial guidance of Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona.
A 13-year-old boy by the name of Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) has a tragedy he must cope with: his mother (Felicity Jones) has cancer and it seems likely it’s terminal. The entirety of his existence is changing, he has to move into completely stiff-upper-lipped grandmother’s (Sigourney Weaver) house whereas he would rather be with his father in the USA. One day at 12.07am precisely, after a daunting day of bullying at school for Conor, the cemetery’s grand yew tree changes into a humanoid creature voiced by Liam Neeson. This “monster” demands Conor to accept his fears and abandon the guilt that plagues his mind.
A Monster Calls is bawl-your-eyes-out amazing. With such remarkable actors this is not surprising: Felicity Jones as the mother is incredible in her portrayal of somebody who is rapidly disintegrating due to a grueling illness and Sigourney Weaver is likewise brilliant. She portrays the grandmother’s mental exhaustion superbly, but Lewis MacDougall certainly deserves special praise too for being so excellent a performer at such a tender age.
The CGI in this film is likewise stunning. The monster, with his arboraceous body and blazing eyes of fire, is an absolutely frightening image indeed and it truly looks alive – but it is mostly amusing that he resembles Liam Neeson so much. The movie’s aquarelle illustrations used for the animated sequences are also incredibly beautiful. However what is mainly splendid about A Monster Calls is what is implied throughout the story. The monster, it seems, is someone who is more familiar to Conor than you would assume, but this shall not be disclosed for obvious reasons and must be discovered by your own volition.
A Monster Calls is released nationwide on 6th January 2017.
For further information about the 60th London Film Festival visit here.
Read more reviews from the festival here.
Watch our interviews with Sigourney Weaver and director JA Bayona here.
Watch the trailer for A Monster Calls here: