A Monster Calls (in select theaters December 23, 2016)

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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.”   

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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.

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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.

 

 

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