“A Monster Calls” Review

5 January, 2017

Director: J.A. Bayona
Screenwriter: Patrick Ness
Director of Photography: Oscar Faura
Cast: Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver

Synopsis: A boy struggling to come to terms with his mother’s terminal illness finds a way to deal with guilt and aggression while seeking solace in the arms of a tree monster who visits him every night.


A Monster Calls Review:

It’s easy to feel moved by the concept behind a movie like “A Monster Calls,” it is, after all, a story centred on a deep-rooted fear that exists within all of us and one that most thankfully don’t have to experience at such a young age. Yet, for every tear shed, it’s impossible not to feel a cloudy sense of dispassion for characters who are so crassly rendered that all heartbreak becomes merely superficial.

Like tuning into a mid-morning family drama, “A Monster Calls” goes through the motions in a sentimental manner, overwhelming us with performance, frittering away precious minutes instead of delving into the specifics behind its lumbering metaphor. The film is deliberately scattered and muddled, ruined by the unrestrained sense of helplessness that plagues a young protagonist’s underdeveloped mind as the crawl to adulthood brings about an awareness of life’s truths in a loud and unrestrained manner. This is the way it should be and yet the damaged aesthetic is so awfully calculated that it’s impossible to feel at home within its presence.

Aside from the flawless CGI and gorgeous Beedle the Bard-style animation, “A Monster Calls” is a film of short-lived flair with far too many irritating, rowdy, and clumsy components to turn a blind eye to. From the casting of Sigourney Weaver as a strict British grandma to the slapdash suggestions behind Felicity Jones’ progressive baldness and chapped lips, the story is distractedly pieced together in a manner that can only draw attention to itself. While the film’s central concept is undoubtedly moving, “A Monster Calls” pushes its dismal notion to breaking point in a BFG tale that simply doesn’t have the staying power of classics like “The NeverEnding Story” or “The Iron Giant.” It’s a throwaway movie out to be twice as impactful as the finished product really is.

 

   

Summary
Review Date
Movie
A Monster Calls
Rating
21star1stargraygraygray

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