Skip to main content

Dan's Review: "A Monster Calls" a beautiful message of hope

Jan 06, 2017 02:42AM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Lewis MacDougall in A Monster Calls - © 2016 – Focus Features

A Monster Calls (Focus Features)

Rated PG-13 for thematic content and some scary images.

Starring Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Liam Neeson (voice), James Melville, Geraldine Chaplin.

Written by Patrick Ness, based on the novel A Monster Calls (conceived by Siobhan Dowd).

Directed by J. A. Bayona.

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

Dealing with loss is tough on anyone, and especially troubling for kids who lose a parent. Kids may be resilient, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for them to feel secure about their future. Such issues are at the forefront in A Monster Calls, J.A. Bayona’s film adaptation of Patrick Ness’ award-winning novel.

Lewis MacDougall plays Conor, a young British lad trying to make sense of his life, knowing his mother (Felicity Jones) has a deadly form of cancer. Complicating matters is his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver), a somewhat cold woman with whom he is often forced to stay with whenever his mom’s health gets worse. Even more complicated is Conor’s father (Toby Kebbell), who lives in the U.S. with his new wife and baby daughter. While trying to make sense of his situation, Conor develops a relationship with an imaginary tree monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) who visits him every night at 12:07 a.m. and tells him fables that have relevance to the boy’s situation. The stories blur the lines between Conor’s imagination and reality, often landing the boy in trouble with his grandma and at school, where a bully (James Melville) constantly taunts him. As his mother’s condition worsens, the monster tries to help Conor see that he still has something to live for, and that his mother will live on through him regardless of the outcome.

A Monster Calls is one of the best films of 2016 (it had a limited release in December). It is a thoughtful and beautiful message of hope in the face of extreme diversity, told through a great performance from newcomer Lewis MacDougall, and incredible computer effects that make the monster seem very real, coupled with Neeson’s distinctive, baritone voice.

The visual storytelling driven by deep, metaphoric parables told by the monster are enough to make even the hardest hearted folks grab a tissue. It may be hard to watch if you’ve suffered a loss in your life recently, but in the end, A Monster Calls is definitely worth seeing.


A Monster Calls Trailer

Arts+Entertainment movies movie reviews
  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/21/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    09/21/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Tawnee McCay for Riverton City Council

    09/21/2017
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    Come meet with Tawnee McCay to discuss the great city we live in, Riverton.


  • Instruction Classes

    09/21/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/22/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/22/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/22/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/22/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/22/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/22/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/23/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Oktoberfest

    09/23/2017
    03:00PM — 09:00PM

    September 23, 2017 from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Sandy, Utah's very own, Grace Lutheran School i...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/24/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/21/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    09/21/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Tawnee McCay for Riverton City Council

    09/21/2017
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    Come meet with Tawnee McCay to discuss the great city we live in, Riverton.


  • Instruction Classes

    09/21/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/22/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/22/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/22/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/22/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/22/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/22/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/23/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Oktoberfest

    09/23/2017
    03:00PM — 09:00PM

    September 23, 2017 from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Sandy, Utah's very own, Grace Lutheran School i...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/24/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Salt Lake City Gem Faire

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Sep. 22-24, 2017, South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Fri. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/25/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/26/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/27/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/28/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    09/28/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    09/28/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/29/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • HCS Fall Festival

    09/29/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00AM

    Hilltop Christian School's annual Fall Festival is a great time for the whole family. Pony rides,...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    09/30/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/01/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    10/01/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/02/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/03/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/04/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/05/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    10/05/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/05/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/06/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/07/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Free Anti-Bullying Class

    10/07/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Gracie Barra Sandy hosts a free self defense class once a month on the first Saturday of every mo...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/08/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    10/08/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/09/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/10/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/11/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/12/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    10/12/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/12/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


 

Online Edition
Follow My City Journals on Facebook
Advertise with us

 

City Journals 9500 South 500 West, Suite 205, Sandy, Utah 84070 801.254.5974