A Monster Calls, based on the award-winning novel of the same name by Patrick Ness was created with the audience in mind. It is a visually spectacular drama about a young boy named Conor (Lewis MacDougall) who attempts to deal with his mother’s illness and the bullying of his classmates by escaping into a fantasy world of monsters and fairy tales that deal with courage, loss and truth.
Conor is going through a terrible time, as everything horrible you can imagine happens to him all at once. He is bullied at school, his mother is dying, his father lives far away and he has now moved to Los Angeles and is living with a new family. He also has terse and strained relations with his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver), who is a tough as nails control freak.
Conor is thus facing a fight against his self and the truths that are often hidden in our subconscious minds, so he retreats into his imagination for sanctuary. At least, that is what an audience would think at first glance. However, is this really the case? Conor is too old for monsters, but is also too young for the world of men at the tender age of 13. When Conor has to deal with his conflicting emotions and battles to find hidden truths and learn bravery on his quest to accept them, he embarks on the metaphysical journey of a lifetime. While on this journey, he meets a monster in the flesh of a giant yew tree (in his dreams) that for a little while becomes reality, by visiting him at 12:07 AM every night to help him deal with his emotional turmoil, and his struggles to find and deal with some of life’s many hard truths.
Monster tells us an instructive animated story about Conor preparing for his next steps in life and dealing with change by elaborating the psychologically supportive environment Conor had in his magical dreamscape which allowed him to delve close to life’s truths. The film’s intentional contradictions between Conor and the monster lends a warm humanity to the film but also is descriptive of humanity’s conservative nature and aversion to change, especially change which is disruptive to our lives or well-being.
A Monster Calls / Volání netvora: Příběh života is in theaters now.