A Monster Calls

Critics Consensus

A Monster Calls deftly balances dark themes and fantastical elements to deliver an engrossing and uncommonly moving entry in the crowded coming-of-age genre.

86%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 253

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 25,154
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Movie Info

A visually spectacular drama from director J.A. Bayona ("The Impossible"). 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall), dealing with his mother's (Felicity Jones) illness, a less-than-sympathetic grandmother (Sigourney Weaver), and bullying classmates, finds a most unlikely ally when a Monster appears at his bedroom window. Ancient, wild, and relentless, the Monster guides Conor on a journey of courage, faith, and truth. Toby Kebbell plays Conor's father, and Liam Neeson stars in performance-capture and voiceover as the nocturnally visiting Monster of the title.

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Critic Reviews for A Monster Calls

All Critics (253) | Top Critics (47)

  • A Monster Calls is an adaptation of a children's book with a title that makes it sound like a horror movie. Neither of these things should obscure the fact that it's the most mature film of the year -- and one of the most moving.

    Jul 26, 2017 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • The movie delivers its meaning repeatedly to make sure that no one misses the point; its lessons, rendered even more explicitly than the ones in Conor's classroom, are missing only the chalkboard and pointer.

    Jan 23, 2017 | Full Review…
  • As the movie rumbled toward its inevitably devastating conclusion, the chief emotion I felt wasn't sadness but annoyance at the dashed grander potential.

    Jan 8, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Director J.A. Bayona presents appealing worlds (real and imagined) awash in color and detail, but while his movie and its monster are very interested in exploring and explaining humanity, they don't quite get people.

    Jan 6, 2017 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • Too mature to lure in the younger set and too one-dimensional to make much of an impression on adult audiences.

    Jan 6, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • This is a tough movie that takes on adult issues and doesn't shy away from the grim realities of its subject matter. But that's what makes this grim children's story work. It's a work of lovely darkness.

    Jan 6, 2017 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Monster Calls

  • Jan 22, 2018
    An artistically gifted but bullied school boy has to deal with his mother's approaching cancer death and is visited by a tree monster a night. What sounds like a fantasy adventure is actually a pretty serious drama about children being confronted with loss. Especially the short stories the monster tells are beautifully animated and the protagonist is a highly talented young actor. One has to wonder who the audience for this is, though. Children will find it too dark and uneventful, adults may be put off by a CGI tree creature. Especially the ending is very touching, though.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 24, 2017
    Painfully predictable and trite, A Monster Calls is a macabre and overly melodramatic coming-of-age film. The story follows a young boy who seeks the help of a mysterious tree creature when his mother becomes terminally ill. Unfortunately, the boy's not a very sympathetic character; reacting with violence and anger to everyone and everything around him (which gets really tired really fast). It's cliché. However, the stories that the monster tells are rather interesting, as is the animation used in them. And, Liam Neeson does an incredible job at voicing the monster; making him threatening and dangerous, with an air of ambiguity as to whether he's an agent of good or evil. Additionally, the score is emotionally evocative and compliments the scenes especially well. A Monster Calls is formulaic and heavy handed, yet it does have its heartwarming moments.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 31, 2017
    Very rarely would a film like 'A Monster Calls' come along as a sleeper hit of the year become a film that makes me cry. It's a wholeheartedly wonderful film filled with outstanding cinematography, special effects and animation to go with it's central subconscious message trapped inside the imagination of a young boy's grief an anger. Lewis MacDougall is a performance standout, that both he and the magnificent Ent-like tree monster voiced by the one and only Liam Neeson overshadow the other human minor roles which are also very good with what minimalism they have to work with. I must also warn viewers if they're planning on seeing this film, to have some sort of a happy back-up after the credits roll from this very cathartic but deeply human and endearing picture, it's a film so likely to make grown men cry, any age group would enjoy it no matter what. This is a film that must be experienced no matter what as it's one of 2017's most unique and shining gems I can't help but think of it's huge possibilities it'll have when come the BAFTAs for the British film awards.
    Luke E Super Reviewer
  • May 17, 2017
    It's rare for a film of this kind to argue for total honesty and acceptance of hard truths where children are concerned. Lewis MacDougall gives one hell of a performance.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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