The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
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.
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.
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.
Though well-made on every level, with gorgeous visuals and raw, heightened performances, "A Monster Calls" is more emotionally intense than the average children's movie - by a factor of maybe two or three hundred.
Older audiences braced for tragedy may be drawn to its imaginative visuals - the stories told by the monster are rendered in delicate, painterly animation - and to the achingly vulnerable, growing-up-too-fast boy at its center.
If you prefer to view dying as a natural part of life, a step in a cycle, this film will feel discordant and perhaps counterproductive. But visually it will certainly stick with you, and your children.
A Monster Calls joins a rich trove of movies in which children process real-life ordeals by escaping into elaborate fantasies, which doesn't make director J.A. Bayona's film any less beautiful or haunting.
Despite its shortcomings, there are things about this film that are hard to shake; the movie's ultimate wisdom and overarching compassion make it very likely that you won't want to shake them, after all.
It tries hard to simultaneously be exciting, emotional and magical. And while it doesn't always manage to nail that tricky trifecta, it provides a number of touching moments and a behemoth to remember.