The Monster in A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls (Film Review) – Decent Yet Disappointing

A Monster Calls is a fantasy drama directed by J. A. Bayona and stars Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall and Liam Neeson. The story is centred on a young boy called Conor O’Malley, played by Lewis MacDougall, who has to deal with the fact that his mother, played by Felicity Jones, is dying from cancer. Additionally, Conor is struggling with being bullied at school. Conor comes across a monster, voiced by Liam Neeson, who tells him stories and aids Conor in fixing his unhappy life.

My Knowledge and Expectation of A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls has been receiving a lot of buzz since some critics were able to see it as early as the summer. As such, this was a film which had pushed itself to being one of my most anticipated, especially when you consider how talented the cast involved in this film is. Certainly, Felicity Jones is getting stronger and stronger as an actress and when you have Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson involved in any film, it will only increase your expectations.

Sigourney Weaver and Lewis MacDougall in A Monster Calls

My Thoughts on A Monster Calls

Sadly, the high hopes I had for this film were not met. While I believe that it is a decent film, it failed to emotionally captivate me as it has with other people. Still, there were some things I liked. What I really appreciated about A Monster Calls were the impressive visuals. The monster looks stunning in this film and the animation they use to tell the monsters’ stories are also very impressive.

The performances in A Monster Calls were also good. MacDougall is impressive for a boy of his age, Neeson’s voice work is solid while Felicity Jones plays the supporting role she has to the best of her ability. Nevertheless, I would have liked to have seen more of Sigourney Weaver and Toby Kebbell as I was intrigued by their characters the most and I felt they were underused in the film which is a negative aspect of the film.

The Monster and Lewis MacDougall in A Monster Calls

However, my biggest gripe with A Monster Calls was that it tries to tug at your heartstrings to an extent where it feels really forced. It was like the film was screaming “CRY NOW!!” and it felt very unnatural for my liking. This will not be an issue for a lot of people but I have to give my honest opinion about how I felt about this film. At what was supposed to be the film’s most emotional moments, the majority of them fell flat due to how it tries too hard to manipulate the audience which really disappointed me, especially as I had such high hopes for this film.

Consequently, I have no intention of re-watching A Monster Calls. While I would encourage you to see this film to form your own opinions, I myself only consider this film to be decent. While it is visually impressive and the performances in this are good, certain characters were under-utilised and the film tries too hard to showcase its emotional core and force it onto the audience. This left me very disappointed but, like I said, I think you should go and see it for yourself as I also believe the problems I have with A Monster Calls will not be issues for a lot of people.

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