7.5/10
72,917
220 user 345 critic

A Monster Calls (2016)

Trailer
2:29 | Trailer
A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mother's terminal illness.

Director:

J.A. Bayona

Writers:

Patrick Ness (screenplay by), Patrick Ness (based upon the novel written by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
3,774 ( 625)
38 wins & 52 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

I Kill Giants (2017)
Drama | Fantasy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Barbara Thorson struggles through life by escaping into a fantasy life of magic and monsters.

Director: Anders Walter
Stars: Madison Wolfe, Zoe Saldana, Imogen Poots
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of a tourist family in Thailand caught in the destruction and chaotic aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Director: J.A. Bayona
Stars: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland
The Orphanage (2007)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

Director: J.A. Bayona
Stars: Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Years after a nervous breakdown Karl goes on tour with old friends and upcoming electronic music DJs. Beeing the only sober person in a environment full of drugs and alcohol starts to bring back demons.

Director: Arne Feldhusen
Stars: Charly Hübner, Annika Meier, Detlev Buck
Colossal (2016)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Gloria is an out-of-work party girl forced to leave her life in New York City and move back home. When reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, she gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this phenomenon.

Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Stars: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Austin Stowell
Jackie V (2016)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband's historic legacy.

Director: Pablo Larraín
Stars: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife.

Director: James Marsh
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The Story is About Four High School Friends. They Run Into Lots of Problems and Adventures Throughout the Movie to Bring Back Something They Lost.

Director: Ahmed Nader Galal
Stars: Ahmed Malek, Layla Fawzy, Hassan Hosny
Lion (2016)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.

Director: Garth Davis
Stars: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara
Everest (2015)
Action | Adventure | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The story of New Zealand's Robert "Rob" Edwin Hall, who on May 10, 1996, together with Scott Fischer, teamed up on a joint expedition to ascend Mount Everest.

Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Stars: Jason Clarke, Ang Phula Sherpa, Thomas M. Wright
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

Director: Matt Ross
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lewis MacDougall ... Conor
Sigourney Weaver ... Grandma
Felicity Jones ... Mum
Toby Kebbell ... Dad
Ben Moor ... Mr. Clark
James Melville ... Harry
Oliver Steer Oliver Steer ... Sully
Dominic Boyle ... Anton
Jennifer Lim ... Miss Kwan
Max Gabbay Max Gabbay ... Steven
Morgan Symes Morgan Symes ... Lawyer
Max Golds Max Golds ... 5-Year-Old Connor
Frida Palsson Frida Palsson ... Lily's Mum
Wanda Opalinska ... Female Nurse
Patrick Taggart Patrick Taggart ... Teacher
Edit

Storyline

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?

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Courage conquers all. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic content and some scary images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

UK | Spain | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 January 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Monster Calls See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$43,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,909, 25 December 2016

Gross USA:

$3,740,823

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$47,309,313
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The benevolent and wise tree-like monster has points in common with Treebeard the Ent from Lord of the Rings. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Conor: [having a nightmare] Mama! Mama!
Conor: [waking] How does the story begin?
The Monster: It begins like so many stories. With a boy, too old to be a kid. Too young to be a man. And a nightmare.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The North American DVD and Blu-ray releases slow down the film's audio pitch at 4%. However, the film remains normal-pitched on digital platforms. See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood Express: Episode #15.1 (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Robot Rovellado
Written and Performed by For Fiesta
Voice: Lluís Segura
Bass: David Gallart / Drums: Marc Prades / Bass & Drums: Bernat Vilaplana / Guitar: Bernat Vilaplana / Soulphone: Marc Gómez del Moral
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A Grimm Tale Indeed
16 January 2017 | by jadepietroSee all my reviews

(RATING: ☆☆☆☆ out of 5)

THIS FILM IS RECOMMENDED.

IN BRIEF: A visually stunner caught up in the undergrowth of its own conventional storytelling.

GRADE: B

SYNOPSIS: A child suffers the harsh realities of life and retreats to another world.

JIM'S REVIEW: J. A. Bayona's A Monster Calls is a visually imaginative downer of a tale about a young boy who must learn to cope with grief. Based on the award-winning children's book by Patrick Ness and adapted by the author himself, the film uses animation and live action to tell its tale of woe. The results of this dark tale are enlightened by stylish direction and a highly effective performance by newcomer. Lewis MacDougall.

Mr. MacDougall plays Conor O'Malley whose life is filled with too many harsh realities: a mother suffering from terminal cancer (Felicity Jones), a distant grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) and a more distant father (Toby Kebbell), a cruel bully (James Melville). Real life offers no solitude, so Conor retreats to an imaginary world which brings with it a giant yew monster (Liam Neeson). During his visits, the tree creature provides some respite for Conor. He gives him sage advice by telling some stories to help this child through the darkness to find some solace in the real world.

A Monster Calls is more of an allegory and the film's narrative structure uses the format of interspersing animated vignettes as parables to the parallel story of Conor and his terminally-ill mother. Yes, the film is manipulative from the start, with its undeniable melodramatic set-up and ultimately tragic conclusion. The real world story is dull and so relentless in its brooding melancholia compared to the free-spirited other worldly realm and, at times, this reviewer wanted to stay in the latter. But the filmmakers treat their serious subject with such dignity and honesty, avoiding the maudlin and sentimental for the most part. There is so much to admire about Mr. Bayona's film. (The subject is not an easy task to sell to the general public. Not surprisingly, the movie is doing lackluster business in the States, although globally it is doing well. Nowadays, American moviegoers are looking to escape reality, such like the main character.)

Technically, the film soars. From Oscar Fuura's stunning photography to Fernando Velazquez's haunting music score, the film looks death squarely in the face and celebrates life. Seamlessly edited by Benat Vilplana and Jaume Marti, A Monster Calls uses its sumptuous visuals to its advantage. With swirls of bright watercolor washes adding a vibrancy to the film's story-within- a story format, the film efficiently contrasts the real from the unreal. Kudos to director Bayona and his team of artisans on their handling of this delicate theme.

The lead performances are all first-rate, Mr. Neeson voices the Monster perfectly and his motion capture performance is wonderful and so heartfelt. Ms. Jones brings superb understatement to her role as Conor's sickly parent. Her chemistry with Mr. MacDougall seems genuine and authentic. This young actor, in his film debut, is remarkable and runs the full gamut of emotions without one false note. Providing supporting work in their rather stock roles are Ms. Weaver and Mr. Kebbell who are merely serviceable, possibly due to the writing and characters.

A Monster Calls is indeed a Grimm tale, but one that deserves your attention. And be forewarned, bring a hankie with you.


30 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 220 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed