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Star Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: 2016/2017
Cast: Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Liam Neeson, Toby Kebell
Based on Patrick Ness’ award winning novel, from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd.
It is not often when a film based on a book, which will forever remain one of the best examples of modern fiction (and become a classic in its time), exceeds all expectations and manages to reach points the original book never managed to do.
Undoubtedly, Patrick Ness’ screenplay (based on his own book) stays true to its source in every aspect. Even though some characters have been cut down or removed it doesn’t feel as if their presence is missed. The overall story and feeling between characters has been heightened, relationships created, ideas added to great affect and small details hidden in plain sight. A Monster Calls, as a film, proves why films can be the next level to a story.
My worry was that Bayonas’ (the directors) version of the story wouldn’t achieve what the book has managed to do to so many. But, there’s was no need to feel that. Instead not only narrative elements have been added, but the craft and image of the film have done so much more to Siobhan Dowd’s initial idea. Plot wise, A Monster Calls revolves around a boy, Connor, visited by a strange monster who tells him three stories which come to a final revelation around Connor’s ill mother. Each story, in film form, are told through animation which is beautiful merged into live action narrative, the ink spread of colour and life in the drawings is magical. Every aspect of the animation allows what are already perfect stories to be presented on the screen in a way that is simply fantastical.
As a film about grief the emotional intensity is high. Never has a story has such a profound affect on me that after reading the book twice (and crying), that it still manages to produce tears across generations. As I was wiping my eyes at the end a lady in her sixties was wiping hers behind me. Some films like to force emotion by baking an emotional scene with soaring strings and intense music, not A Monster Calls. Here emotion comes naturally, which is a great compliment to the quality of the story.
To me A Monster Calls is the best book I have ever read, and as a film it still remains a lyrical, magical and timeless story of loss. A true film for young and old audiences a like.
Banburyshire Info TV, Theatre, and Film Critic
Noah. I am 13 years old and I am writing all the film and TV reviews that you will see on this page. I love films. I love them because how they take you into a completely different world to your own. Films take you on an emotional journey, whether they make you cry or laugh films are wonderful. Even the terrible ones make you laugh, because they are so terrible. Films have the ability to show us other worlds and show us how the world that we live in is changing. https://myscreennotebook.wordpress.com/
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