A Monster Calls

2016 coming-of-age monster movie

Rating: 13/20

Plot: A young boy deals with a mother dying from cancer and bullies at school. He befriends a tree monster who tells him a trio of stories.

I didn't really get it, and I'm not sure if it's because I kind of lost interest early on or if the movie just had issues with a lack of focus. I really think it's the latter, but it's possible that I just didn't make the connections I was supposed to be making. There were plenty of individual elements that I liked about this movie. Liam Neeson voicing a giant tree man might be worth the price of admission for some people. Both Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones, the two women in the kid's life, are both really good. And the kid, played by Lewis MacDougall, gives a great kid performance and maybe just a great performance period. The monster's stories are these nifty animated sequences, and the animation has a unique style that I really liked. The effects are good, the score sounds like the kind of thing that could be nominated for awards, and the opening credits were beautiful.

Unfortunately, I'm just not sure what this was supposed to add up to. It was muddy and out of focus, and unlike most coming-of-age movies with young male protagonists, I wasn't able to connect much at all. Maybe I just didn't have enough experiences with tree monsters when I was young.

I really want to make some sort of morning wood joke, but I'm not going to. I'm going to keep this professional.

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