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A Monster calls

The melancholy fairy tale by US author Patrick Ness has been impressively brought to life by Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona (THE ORPHANAGE). The way our hero deals with the imminent loss of his mother is the template for the fantastical ...

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How does a child deal with the loss of a loved one? Patrick Ness found a fantastical way to talk about the fears, wishes, and dreams of a 13 year old with a mother with cancer in his young adult novel “A Monster Calls.” Wispy Conor can only dream of a happy-go-lucky childhood – but he’s not even allowed to do that since he is constantly plagued by nightmare that stem from his real life. Conor lives alone with his mother Elizabeth. Her disease forces him to stand on his own two feet most of the time. His peers mock him and Conor tries to be as invisible as he can. His only escape are his drawings. When Elizabeth becomes too weak to care for him, Conor goes to live with his strict grandmother. He processes his waking hours at night and creates a giant monster that expresses his anger and takes him to a strange story with no happy ending.

The melancholy fairy tale by US author Patrick Ness has been impressively brought to life by Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona (THE ORPHANAGE). The way our hero deals with the imminent loss of his mother is the template for the fantastical allegories which Bayona transforms into nightmarish, artful imagery. It’s a bit like the work of his countryman Guillermo del Toro (PANS LABYRINTH), but it has less fantastical elements and is based in reality. Scottish child actor Lewis MacDougall is convincing in a difficult role and Liam Neeson makes the cinema to vibrate with his monster voice. A moving fairy tale, dark and gripping.

Lars Tunçay

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

USA/Spanien 2016, 108 (Min.) min
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Author: Patrick Ness
DOP: Óscar Faura
Music: Fernando Velázquez
Distributor: STUDIOCANAL
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Geraldine Chaplin, Toby Kebbell, Felicity Jones, Lewis MacDougall
FSK: 12
Release: 04.05.2017

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