I had been looking forward to this adaptation of Patrick Ness' young adult novel A Monster Calls
since it was announced. It just felt like the kind of story that would work well on screen. I was very happy with the results.
Just like the book, this is a visually gorgeous tale (Jim Kay's illustrations reminded me a lot of Stephen Gammel's artwork in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
). It is a coming of age story wrapped in a fairy tale. Conor's mother is very sick and he is dealing with it about as well as you would expect a young boy to deal with it. He buries himself in his artwork and conjures up The Monster, who visits him at night and tells him a story. With each story, Conor begins to peel away the fairy tale world and begins to see that the real world is not so simple. That there are always layers, that acceptance is a part of life and so is great pain.
It is bittersweet and even though I had read the book, I still found myself crying in the end. Everyone did a fabulous job, but Liam Neeson as The Monster was just perfect casting (and according to the extras, he was the one and only choice).
The only flaw in the movie was the casting of Sigourney Weaver since I felt her British accent wasn't so great. But luckily her character doesn't actually talk very much as most of the story rests on Conor's shoulders.
If you have tissues handy, I highly recommend this one.