The monster does not come walking often. This time it comes to Conor, and it asks for the one thing Conor cannot bring himself to do. Tell the truth. This is a very touching story about a boy who feels very damaged, guilty and mostly angry. He struggles at school with bullies, and pity looks from everyone, and at home with his mother's sickness. Will Conor overcome his problems? Will everything be okay? Will Conor be able to speak the truth?
This was the sixth time that Liam Neeson has voiced a CGI character. The first three were for Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia franchise, the fourth as Phango in Khumba (2013), and the fifth was Good Cop/Bad Cop in The Lego Movie (2014). See more »
When Conor and his dad have a conversation in the car, Conor's seat belt is on at first, disappears, and reappears a few times between shots. See more »
[having a nightmare]
How does the story begin?
It begins like so many stories. With a boy, too old to be a kid. Too young to be a man. And a nightmare.
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A Monster Calls is the rare movie geared toward a younger demographic which refuses to pull an emotional punch. The movie explicitly states that the protagonist, Connor O'Malley, is "too old to be a kid and too young to be a man". The introductory tagline is the perfect way to relay the film's tone to the audience. From the brutally honest acting to the gorgeously animated "stories", A Monster Calls allows raw emotion to emanate from the experience. Magic on the screen happens due to the unique specificity of our hurt hero. The fantastical elements found in a typical family movie organically merge with the painful reality of adulthood. For example, a fight will begin building up in Connor and the anger will call out the monster. The monster is never a simple vicarious outlet for the young adult. Instead, the monster is a well-executed manifestation of perceived guilt towards a deeper truth. Liam Neeson's monster revels in the humanity of the moment while also holding a magnifying glass up to it. Life continues to get worse for Connor and each appearance leads to a gradual slip of harsh reality. Refreshingly, A Monster Calls never hides that uncovering important personal insight is a painful process. The climax makes up for one of the most touching revelatory moments in modern cinema. The value of the film is revealed in how both children and adults in the audience gain a better understanding of the inherently personal nature of grief. The way we deal with a loss can come across as something else entirely for ourselves. A wide release of the film will hopefully begin to kindle in an audience a desire for introspective cinema. In a sense, specific scenarios are able to paradoxically tap into a universally human truth. Movies like A Monster Calls show a better alternative to the next soulless generic blockbuster movie.
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