(WARNING: This post contains spoilers for the film A Monster Calls)
Firstly, if you haven’t already seen this film, be warned, it is very emotional! The acting is amazing and you feel as though you are in the film yourself, living the hard times right alongside Conor and feeling all the up and down emotions with him.
The film uses a lot of close-ups in contrast with exposition shots which are effective in showing the important emotional side to the film. Conor, throughout the course of the film, feels a mix of emotions. sorrow, grief, anger, hatred, and joy at brief points as he goes through his Mother’s sickness and death whilst dealing with his own troubles with family and school along the way, all the time trying to keep a brave face on for the sake of his Mother and secretly being weighed down by the guilt of his wish for it all to be over.
The only flaws I found with the film were that some relationships were not explored in as much depth as they should, or could have been. In particular his relationship with his Father was not shown enough in my opinion, though this may have been to highlight the growing relationship with his grandmother who, initially, he was opposed to. Also, I had expected a friendship or truce of a sort to emerge between Conor and the boy who bullied him towards the end of the film though this, again, did not happen.
The story was one that’s not normally explored. When a film or story is about someone working their way through the grief at a close death, often it starts as the person dies or very close to that point, mostly focusing on their recovery. Whereas A Monster Calls was all about Conor’s journey during his mothers illness as he was forced to accept the reality and face the truth and reveal his secrets in order to find his own peace with the situation.
One of the things about the film that most appealed to me was the inclusion of art. When Conor finds out his Mum wanted to go to art college he is clearly surprised and, after her death finds another connection to her through her artwork which lives on, surprised to find they had even drawn similar things – discovering his Mum had also met the monster during her own childhood. His mum tells him, on an old home movie, that “the life is in the eyes”, encouraging him to bring his art to life and add emotion and depth to it, teaching him that art is a medium to express yourself rather than just to be creative.
Overall, the film was excellent, really connecting with you and drawing you into their world.
Images were found from: http://www.rendyreviews.com/movies//a-monster-calls-review , https://showfilmfirstblog.com/2016/09/12/felicity-jones-admits-she-had-to-avoid-hitting-the-bottle-during-filming-of-a-monster-calls/ )