12-year-old Conor, dealing with his mother’s illness, a less-than-sympathetic grandmother, and bullying classmates, finds a most unlikely ally when a Monster appears at his bedroom window. Ancient, wild, and relentless, the Monster guides Conor on a journey of courage, faith and truth. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “This film is just amazing! The monster is very realistic, the plot is new, unique and compelling, and the movie moved me to tears.” Brianna B. adds, “This movie adaptation, while a bit confusing, is touching at times and portrays a plethora of different visual aspects. It’s interesting and keeps you wondering what will happen next.” See their full reviews below.
A Monster Calls
By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 12
This film is just amazing! The monster is very realistic, the plot is new, unique and compelling, and the movie moved me to tears.
This is an adapted story from the award-winning novel. The story begins when Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) meets a monster (Liam Neeson) during what Conor thinks is a dream. Conor already has enough on his plate with bullies at his school, his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness and the pressure that his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) will take him away from his mother. Plus, Conor’s father is living far away where he cannot support his child through the mental and physical challenges that he is undergoing.
Lewis MacDougall portrays Conor O’Malley extremely well. He draws the audience into his world and really makes them experience his pain. The way that MacDougall shows how Conor loves his mother and doesn’t want her to go makes everyone feel heartbroken. MacDougall pulls you in with his great acting skills that make this film enjoyable as your mood swings form tears of joy to extreme sadness throughout the whole movie.
The monster’s appearance looks extremely realistic. The monster’s body is very detailed with multiple branches sticking out of it and you see the branches grow and entangle everything they come across. I also love the sound effects. Whenever the monster wakes up and comes out of the ground, the sound of breaking branches and his growl are very realistic which make him seem completely real.
My favorite part of the movie is when Conor and his mother are together in his mother’s final moments and the monster is there watching over them. It is really touching to see them together, but sorrowful at the same time because, you know that the mother has to go. It really moved me seeing how much they love each other.
The message of this story is that you have to learn to face the truth and accept it. You can’t hide from your problems and expect them to go away. You must accept the truth. You have to be strong and learn to let go and move on.
This movie is really spectacular and riveting. I give it 5 out of 5 monster stars. I recommend it for ages 12 to 18. There is too much drama and death for younger viewers. You can find this movie in theaters January 6, 2017. It is truly wonderful and you should definitely check it out.
A Monster Calls
Brianna Hope B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17
This movie adaptation, while a bit confusing, is touching at times and portrays a plethora of different visual aspects. It’s interesting and keeps you wondering what will happen next.
Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is a 12-year-old boy who’s trying to cope with his mother’s terminal illness, being bullied at school and other problems. One night at exactly 12:07a.m., Conor is visited by The Monster (Liam Neeson) who, throughout the film, gives him advice on his situations and tells him stories.
I must say that the visuals have to be my favorite part of this film, from the live action to the CGI, to the visuals of water coloring. I love the detail everywhere, especially the attention to detail with the tree, the set and the wardrobe. It’s visually extremely pleasing. I also really enjoy how relatable the different situations are. There are plenty of kids being raised by a single parent, dealing with a sick relative or having nightmares. The relatable moments are not just for kids however, there are some for adults as well. This is a good film that will make you laugh, cry, and sometimes get mad about how Conor is treated. It has little comedic moments, but not a lot. Thee are just enough to lighten the mood. Overall, I like this film a lot, but there are a few things that I don’t particularly enjoy. I’m confused about the need for the tree stories or the need for the tree at all. The truth that Conor has to confess to the tree does not measure up to the angst or drama that is presented. I also feel that the film is a bit too long. Some of the scenes are drawn out. Liam Neeson’s deep voice with music enhancements is incredible. He is one remarkable Monster. His voice is strong, confident, and a little bit scary in the beginning, but afterwards, you get use to it. Lewis MacDougall’s performance is outstanding. He’s in that in-between stage of being too old to be considered a child and definitely too young to be a man. A young man you could say, but its still a difficult stage and he is doing great.
I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18. The title would lead you to believe that this is one scary film, however it’s not too bad. It’s rated PG 13 for the scary scenes, mentions of terminal cancer and bullying. I give this film 3½ out of 5 stars, for its sometimes confusing plot and length. This film is in theaters January 6th, so please check it out.
Credit: KIDS FIRST!