NOTE: This is a SPOILER-FREE review.
I went to a free, pre-screening of this British/Spanish film this past WED at my local Regal theater. The audience included some kids and teens, who attended w/ their parents. However, this is NOT your typical “kid’s movie.” The protagonist is a quiet, slight-framed, and thoughtful 12 y.o. boy named Conor (Lewis MacDougall in his first role). He retreats into his imagination in order to deal w/ serious issues (bullying, divorce, and illness). My friend/neighbor commented: “That was like a Landmark-type (as in indie) movie.”
The still-young director is a Spaniard (J.A. Bayona) who I’d never heard of before. The animation sequences are VERY cool; they are narrated by The Monster (voiced by Liam Neeson). At moments, this film reminded me of E.T. and Pan’s Labyrinth; I’m sure those were two influences for Bayona.
Conor’s mom is played by Felicity Jones, who is the lead in Rogue One. Jones and MacDougall’s relationship is BOTH sweet and complicated (as we learn). Sigourney Weaver plays the grandma, a real-estate agent w/ a NOT so warm/fuzzy personality. See the trailer below.