One of our favourite reads of last year was Patrick Ness novel ‘A Monster Calls’ from an idea by Siobhan Dowd. We discovered the book, after hearing it was to become a Movie, and knew we wanted to read before seeing it!
So does the film do the book justice, Patrick Ness had written the script and from the director of The Orphanage and The Impossible, J.A. Bayona we had very high hopes.
The cast is also excellent and the initial trailers were how we imagined the books and we are pleased to report this film is a classic and will surely be in the running for our best films of 2017.
The story remains the same as the book, Conor (Lewis MacDougall) is struggling to deal with his sick mother (Felicity Jones) who is fighting an illness in hospital, and it would appear all cures are not working.
Conor is upset over this, and the prospect of having to live with his strict grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) as his father (Toby Kebbell) is based overseas in America, and his new family just have not got the room or money to take him on.
Conner, at the height of these struggles, when it looks like his mother will lose her fight for life, he is visited by a Monster, formed from a tree by a nearby church.
The monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) will tell Conor three stories, all of which will appear to have one outcome but show another, in return for this, the Monster wants to hear Conor’s story, which is also his biggest nightmare.
Anything else would give too much away but this film is near perfection. The cast are all superb, Lewis as young Conor, and Sigourney as the grandmother in particular. Liam’s voice is excellent for the monster too.
With the book you rely on the written word to tell the story, with A Monster Calls, it’s the visuals, the telling of the Monster’s stories are told with fine water colours tying into the connection Conor has with his mother over their love of art and they are simply stunning.
The film ending gives us a new connection between mother and child that was not in the book, thanks to her art portfolio that has been left behind, although we do think we did prefer the book’s ending.
The animation of the monster is also good, but we know Trees can be done well with Animatronics, FX and CGI thanks to the likes of The Lord of the Rings and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.
But this is not a film for CGI like many blockbusters, this a well-told story and for us, this is an absolute must see, the standards for this year have been set incredibly high on the basis of this film. Be warned, however, its story does not really make this a kids film, so if looking for a fun family boy and a monster film, may we suggest Monster Trucks.
This film is a strong character drama and a real tear jerker so you may want to bring along some tissues as you get absorbed in this wonderful modern fable about death and loss.
Have you read the book? Did you like this adaptation? We would love to hear from you
You can watch the film trailer at the film’s website here:
You can buy the book from Amazon here:
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