A MONSTER CALLS – Rated PG-13

A Monster Calls

A MONSTER CALLS – Rated PG-13 – 108 Mins.

Starring Liam Neeson, Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, and Toby Kebbell

Based on the novel by Patrick Ness, and brought to life by Director J.A. Bayona, we meet young Conor (Lewis MacDougall), searching for a way to cope with his Mum’s (Felicity Jones) terminal illness…

Enter the very gruff and imaginary tree MONSTER (voiced by Liam Neeson), to help Conor through the trials and tribulations he must face in his young life ~ including bullies, and absentee father (Toby Kebbell), and a grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) who he isn’t quite fond of either.

As the MONSTER shares his own stories with his creator, in an attempt to help Conor gain the ability to face all the demons in his own life, it seems that this imaginary creature is going to have the last say…as he helps to guide Conor on his way…

I give A MONSTER CALLS a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH THIS ONE ON DVD ~ J.A. Bayona’s take on Patrick’s Ness’s novel is a very moving one minute, yet increasingly disturbing the next, interpretation of a young man’s life, being forced to face the realities he doesn’t really want to. MacDougall is impressive as young Conor, and Jones is fabulous yet again too, as the Mum who wants to fight the good fight to stay on this earth for her child. Plus, seeing Weaver back on the big screen brought some joy to my heart as this film played out too. So why the in-between review?  From the very uneasy feeling storyline, to the rather dark and demented feel of this film, to the sometimes really scary monster on screen, I wasn’t sold on this film being a must see for everyone, especially those under the age of 13.   If you’ve read the novel and want to see it interpreted onto the big screen, then please, head out this weekend and catch it at a theater near you. But if you are thinking this is a film for the entire family to view ~ please think again ~ as from the ailing mother, to the scary monster, to the dysfunctional relationship between grandson and grandmother, this film is laced with a lot of adult material not suitable for children, and which might be better suited for some adult viewers as well, on the less imposing little screen you have at home.

Kathy Kaiser