Just in case you don’t read any more of this article let me say this: This movie is worth seeing once but you are unlikely to want to watch it again.
I saw “A Monster Calls” at an advanced screening recently. Though I knew by the end of the movie it was a well made, well acted film I still felt like I didn’t want to see it again and it took me a while to figure out why.
A Monster Calls is a new addition to the “marketing doesn’t actually represent the movie category”. This is often considered a bad thing but honestly I can see a good reason why this movie went in that direction: this movie will be a tough sell to general audiences.
Don’t get me wrong-this is a good movie and I am happy I saw it but its a depressing film-something that is unusual from a movie which has fantasy elements. I thought the film would be about a boy that was bullied anda tree that comes to help him deal with his emotions through brute force. Though that is in the movie it isn’t the movies core. The core of the movie is a boy that is having to deal with his sick mother. This is the reason for most of the pain and tension in the movie and by the end of the movie I dare you to not be sniveling and fighting back tears.
This movie tackles serious issues relating to the experiences that people have when loved ones are ill-especially when someone is a child. I felt like this story was more real than a lot of movies that claim to be slice-of-life. Mind you, this one has a talking tree so that’s saying a lot.
The strength in the storytelling of this film is a problem however. This isn’t the kind of story I see people going in droves to see. Based on the fantasy and the fact the main character is so young this feels like a movie that is intended for the young adult crowd but it doesn’t have the beats that a young adult movie would generally have like a love interest or a sense that the lead has a strong influence in the situation that they are in.
I find it hard to sit through movies that are depressing even though I understand their importance. That is why I feel this movie is worth seeing once as the story is worth while to experience-maybe just not for a second time.
If you are looking for a movie to compare this to the best would be Bridge to Terabithia. If you like that movie than you will likely enjoy this one as well.