Power of the mind
Monsters. Who are they? What are they? Generally, we’ve been molded to define “monsters” as big, ugly creatures generated in any way, shape, or form we see fit. Imaginary for the most part, but realistic when evil actions are taken upon by our own kind. Nothing pleasing in one’s life, or mental and/or emotional distress. Of course, much like beauty, ugliness is in the eye-of-the-beholder. What seems horrid to you, may be the opposite for some. And vice versa. This of course in a unique, artistic way courtesy of director J.A. Bayona is the scope of A MONSTER CALLS. A triumphant tale of those deep, dark places we may go to at times to seek answers to which no one else will comprehend.
A visually spectacular drama from the director of THE IMPOSSIBLE (’12)… MONSTER follows the complicated life of a 12-year-old boy named Conor (Lewis MacDougall). Dealing with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness, a less-than-sympathetic grandmother (Sigourney Weaver), and a band of bullying classmates, he finds a most unlikely ally when a Monster (a motion-captured performance voiced by Liam Neeson) appears at his bedroom window. Ancient, nocturnal, wild, and relentless, the Monster harshly guides Conor through a journey of courage, reality, and most of all faith.
Truth be told, I walked into this film not knowing and/or expecting anything. However, as I slowly endured and indulged, woe! A MONSTER CALLS is a gorgeous film driven by fantastical scenery that runs heavy on emotions. (Real heavy) The buildup was a little slow, but payoff is well worth the wait. Visually delicious and magically engaging would be the best way to describe this film. Lewis MacDougall truly steals the show. A lot more interesting than he was in PAN, working off his big co-stars didn’t faze this kid’s abilities as an actor. On the flip, Liam Neeson as the Monster’s voice was quite rough, but a brilliant choice. (It kinda came off like Groot on roids – menacing, dark, powerful, and oddly witty.) Overall, it’s a beautiful film with artistic grit and a lot of heart. If it pulled at my heart, it’ll pull at yours for sure.
On December 10, 2016 I, along with a group of other press members, were granted a few minutes to sit and chat with the stars of MONSTER – MacDougall and Neeson. The overall experience was just as powerful as the film itself, so, I now pass this on to you for your inquiring minds.
In full, uncut rawdio mode… Knock yourselves out!
© Focus Features 2017