FILM REVIEW: A Monster Calls (4 out of 5)

A Monster Calls
A Monster Calls

The wealth of young acting talent in this country and elsewhere always amazes me.

It means that film-makers can happily create a movie on the toughest of subjects, requiring their young cast to show extreme emotion.

Lewis MacDougall plays 12-year-old Conor who is confronted with all his worst nightmares.

His young mother (played by Felicity Jones) is very ill, he is being bullied at school, his parents have split up and his father (Toby Kebbell) has moved to America, plus he doesn’t get on with his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver).

He is also not sleeping well, and one night the yew tree he can see from his bedroom window comes alive (voiced by Liam Neeson), stomps down the hill and tells Conor he must confront the truth about his life.

MacDougall is very good in his demanding role and clearly conveys the emotions of anger and despair inside him.

There are very few light moments in the story which means plenty of tears and lumps in the throat for audiences.

However, despite the subject matter, there is a final feeling of satisfaction as the plot unfolds and Conor ends his emotional journey.

The special effects are pretty good and the ‘watercolour’ animation as the Monster tells his stories is excellent.

The film’s storyline may put some people off, but this is well worth a viewing as it confronts some tough subjects in a bold and imaginative way.

Film details: A Monster Calls (12A) 108mins

Director: J.A. Bayona

Starring: Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol