Packs quite a punch: Review of A Monster Calls by Rashid Irani | movie reviews | Hindustan Times
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Packs quite a punch: Review of A Monster Calls by Rashid Irani

This is a poignant fantasy with wondrous segments animated in Impressionistic water-colour hues.

movie reviews Updated: Jan 17, 2017 18:40 IST
Rashid Irani
Fantasy
A preteen struggling to come to terms with his mother’s imminent death finds comfort in a giant tree that comes to life every day.

A MONSTER CALLS

Direction: JA Bayona

Actors: Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Spanish filmmaker JA Bayona’s third feature, following The Orphanage (2007) and The Impossible (2012), is an affecting fable about loss, grief and the transformation of a troubled child into a responsible young adult.

Blending live-action, an ominous CG creature and distinctive animation, A Monster Calls draws us into the tale of a preteen (Scottish newcomer Lewis MacDougall, heartbreaking) coming to terms with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) terminal illness.

The anguished schoolboy is also constantly bullied by his classmates and has to contend with the possibility of living henceforth with his intimidating maternal grandmother (old-timer Sigourney Weaver, in an underwritten role). Also wasted is fellow veteran, Geraldine Chaplin, in a cameo as the school’s headmistress.

The towering tree-man is voiced with booming authority by Liam Neeson .

Consumed by grief over the imminent death of his parent, the youngster is confronted — and eventually comforted — by a gigantic yew tree that comes to life at precisely 12.07 am every day.

In the film’s most wondrous segments, the stories narrated by the towering tree-man (voiced with booming authority by Liam Neeson) are animated in impressionistic water-colour hues.

On the downside, there are a couple of overly symbolic nightmares about the son attempting to save his mother from plunging into an abyss. Without resorting to undue tear-jerking, the finale packs quite a punch.

Without resorting to undue tear-jerking, the finale packs quite a punch.

A poignant fantasy, A Monster Calls consolidates Bayona’s reputation as one of the more promising directors of his time.

Confident of his ability to spark the viewer’s imagination, Hollywood honchos have asked him to helm the as-yet-untitled Jurassic World sequel, slated for release in 2018.

Watch the trailer for A Monster Calls here