A Monster Calls. My innards pointed me to a title of fantasy, the very imagination of a young boy blooming to life inside his own mind. I was expecting the flourishing of a spectacular imagination with the exploration of mystical lands atop the “Ent” or “Groot” like creature impersonated by no more no less than Liam Neeson himself.
I was wrong. So wrong… It felt like a stab in the back from my own instinct… THIS ARTICLE HAS SPOILERS!
The story revolves around Conor, a young boy (Lewis Macdougall) who is having trouble at school. He is not paying attention in class, clearly lacks any kind of friendship and to top it all off, he also gets bullied everyday. Once he gets home, we get to know, although subtly, why exactly he is that way. His mum is sick. Played by Felicity Jones, Conor’s mom suffers from cancer and is currently on treatment. As for the child’s father, played by Toby Kebbell (Durotan!), he is currently living in the U.S.A. since his marriage with Conor’s mother had ended.
Conor knew his mom was sick and deep down he knew that the disease would take her away from him. When he dozed off in his bedroom while drawing, a huge and large tree that stood on a cemetery came to life, uprooting and reshaping itself into what became to be a humanoid made of bark and branches. This being rampaged through the cemetery all the way up to the bedroom’s window and tore it down together with the outer wall. But to this being’s surprise, Conor was not scared. He faced it without a drop of fear in his face and then, the being announced that he would tell Conor three distinct stories. And that Connor would tell a fourth. The kid wakes up with his bedroom intact, what seemed so real had all just been a livid dream.
The story progresses further, with his mom getting worse, his mother’s mother appearing to help out while her daughter goes for a new treatment. His father comes around to prepare him for what would eventually come, a thing that Conor does not take lightly and the supernatural being continues to appear to tell fantasy tales that all end with a moral bifurcation. Meaning that whoever may be exposed to that story may take one of the two sides that are represented in each story.
Conor disconnects from everything at school and his bully ultimately ends up saying to him that would become invisible from now on. Adding the understanding that he only bullied him through a distorted need to make Connor not invisible to everyone else. But even the bully himself got tired of bullying Connor which only caused the victim to lash out at the aggressor, sending the bully right to the hospital. But who could really blame this kid? Everybody knew what he was going through, but he just backed away from everyone. In the end, the tales only meant to prepare Connor for the inevitable. His mother’s death.
We’re presented with her last final moments alongside her mother and her son, with Connor letting go of his own mom as a loving son would. Later in his grandmother’s house, Connor would discover that the tales he had dreamed of were all depicted in old drawings that her mother had created, years and years ago.
There’s not much to go on from here. I was devastated after seeing a scene where a mother losers her daughter and where a son loses his mother at the same time. The journey that the young boy went through only to let his mother go in the end culminates with a pain at the heart and a void in our chest. Overall the movie is way above average, the animation of the dreams is superb, the acting is nice and the environment and clothes are pretty standard for a normal life kind of movie. That’s what hurts me the most you know? It is a normal life scenario…