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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?
Conor is in the same school class as Harry (the bully), who is three or four years older than him. While it might be explained that Harry has been flunked and held back repeatedly, such a statement is never explicitly made. Note to add: children are rarely held back in UK schools - more likely that Harry is either tall or this is a special class on a particular subject that includes children from multiple years. 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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Like an true nightmare, A Monster Calls has a lot of dark beauty within it's tragedy
The traces of crayon and markers on paper will tell you a lot of thing you need to know about the child that drew it. You'd be surprised by how much a drawing of a horse or a sloppy house can tell what any kid would like. I remember during the third grade, my teacher noted several sketches I've done of space aliens and flying pizzas invading over an unnamed city. She actually asked if this was supposed to be about a fear of meeting new people and by going back to a slice of cheese pizza, I was ignoring new things. I only said that I liked aliens and pizza.
As I've said, drawings may not always say a lot, but they do something. It depends on the person and the emotions their going through. I can only interpret that my crude sketch only said that I was board and would rather make up something weird to pass the time. My friend too did his own drawings, but his were a lot darker. Whenever I asked, he simply said, "their just cool", despite that their darker imagery frightened me. It would be several years later when I found out that his father had passed away. Perhaps A Monster Calls reflects perfectly well what my friend went through.
Twelve-year-old Conner O'Malley (played by Lewis MacDougall) loves his mother and does his best to care for her, given her terminal illness and his determination to see her get better. His mother Lizzie (played by Felicity Jones) has told her son several stories and encouraged his artistic talent. His grandmother (played by Sigourney Weaver) also does her best to tend to her daughter and grandson, even though Conner see's her as something of an unsympathetic witch. On top of that, Conner is also the target of a bully.
One evening at the strike of 12:07, he sees a giant, tree-like creature rise out of a church graveyard and comes to the boy's house. The monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) tells Conner that he'll tell him three stories and that when the time comes, a fourth must be given in return. Though Conner see's this creature in a reoccurring nightmare, he shows no fear, probably due to his early maturity. In conjunction with the Monster's visits, Conner's grandmother and father (played by Toby Kebbell) come to realize that Lizzie may not make it much longer. Conner allows the monster to tell him the stories, with the hope that his mother can be saved.
When I was watching A Monster Calls, I was surprised by how much it made me think about Where The Wild Things Are. Not because their similar movies, but because their both family oriented movies that feel very mature and adult. This is what I like about A Monster Calls. Like a lot of nightmares one would have, the visions that the child has of the monster (which is cool looking, though he looks similar to Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy) connect incredibly well to the events that he's going through. It's a master class of great screen writing and editing.
A Monster Calls will defiantly feel heavy to a lot of kids that are going to see this. Their going find themselves watching something sad, but I hope that parents see this as important. Lewis MacDougall manages to carry a lot of the heavy emotions that the story requires of him and pulls off a performance that's better then a lot of adult actors. As an audience member, I wanted to see where his story was going to go and was sad to see it end. You know a movie is good when your sad that it ended.
I'll give this ten sketches of the monster out of ten. I can't stress with how beautiful this movie is. It's full of story that should help a lot of people going through with someone's terminal illness or their own. I can only say that this is geared towards older kids (probably over the age of ten would be best) and I doubt that they won't get something out of this. See if A Monster Calls is worthy of your life story and check it out.
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