A Monster Calls - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Monster Calls Reviews

January 23, 2017
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.
January 8, 2017
As the movie rumbled toward its inevitably devastating conclusion, the chief emotion I felt wasn't sadness but annoyance at the dashed grander potential.
January 6, 2017
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
January 6, 2017
Too mature to lure in the younger set and too one-dimensional to make much of an impression on adult audiences.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
January 6, 2017
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.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
January 5, 2017
This makes for one overcrowded assemblage of issues.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
January 5, 2017
Filmmaker J.A. Bayona keeps things visually interesting at all times in A Monster Calls. On a storytelling level, he doesn't pull his punches.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
January 5, 2017
A Monster Calls is unconventional storytelling in the best way. But parents should be aware that it's not exactly a feel-good film to share with their kids.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
January 5, 2017
Why is it so rare to find films "for children" with this kind of maturity and attention to technique?
January 5, 2017
Rich in folkloric symbolism, this fantasy from director J.A. Bayona starts promisingly but eventually sinks under a wave of pop psychology.
January 5, 2017
"A Monster Calls" is an involving, surprisingly mature tale of pre-adolescent loss, passing innocence and hard-won coming of age.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 5, 2017
A Monster Calls isn't so much for kids as it is for grownups. It's a reminder of the time when we, too, thought only of ourselves-and found it too much to bear.
January 5, 2017
Bayona packs his tale with spellbinding visuals and honest emotion, and if the ending doesn't reduce you to tears, you may be the real monster.
Full Review | Original Score: B
January 5, 2017
The movie is memorable for its stunning and inventive imagery, especially when the tree-monster's tales spring to life as little works of art set in motion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 5, 2017
"A Monster Calls" is the rare film that addresses the mysteries of childhood without succumbing to schmaltz.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 5, 2017
The visuals are up for the challenge in this fantastical meditation on childhood grief. The writing, however, is not.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
January 5, 2017
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 5, 2017
"A Monster Calls" is a portrait of coping that's both fascinating and heartbreaking.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 5, 2017
Bayona remains a director whose work should be anticipated, and "A Monster Calls" is a solid fantasy drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 4, 2017
MacDougall skillfully rises to the challenge of portraying this struggle, carrying the emotional weight that the story demands, and displaying a solid range between deep sadness and intense anger.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
January 4, 2017
A Monster Calls is an engrossing tragic fantasy, sustained by genuine sentiment.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 4, 2017
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 28, 2016
A Monster Calls is an unexpectedly powerful and unsentimental exploration of surviving grief and the less-than-noble feelings it can engender.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 23, 2016
A Monster Calls dials up a nostalgic and superb coming-of-age journey that'll have audiences grabbing all the hankies.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 23, 2016
The film is a bit emotionally manipulative-it sure can wring the tears out of you-but you still probably won't be able to resist it.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
December 22, 2016
This is Mr. Bayona's third feature; it confirms the sensitivity and impressive technique that distinguished his previous film, The Impossible.
December 22, 2016
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.
December 22, 2016
"Monster" is almost too ambitious to be completely realized. But when it works, which is most of the time, its story has a power which lingers in the mind.
December 22, 2016
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.
December 22, 2016
If you're not crying by the third act of A Monster Calls, you may want to have your humanity checked.
December 22, 2016
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 22, 2016
Young Lewis MacDougall is very good as Conor as is Felicity Jones as his mother, while Sigourney Weaver invests the difficult part of the grandmother with a tightly wound intensity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 21, 2016
Evocative, mysterious and shot through with bruising humor and heartbreak, A Monster Calls-with a deeply-felt performance from Felicity Jones- gets you where you live. There's real magic in it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 20, 2016
The film is tough-minded, often grim and intense, its lessons about death and grief hard in ways you aren't conditioned to expect from pricey CGI entertainments.
December 20, 2016
The film belongs alongside "Pan's Labyrinth" in the realm of darkly creative kid-centric films that are, at their core, not really kids' fare at all.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 19, 2016
Every time the narrative seems to be headed toward some pat, sentimental revelation about loss and healing, it lands just a little off-center, avoiding predictability.
Full Review | Original Score: B
December 13, 2016
A deeply emotional film about loss that will probably have you crying by film's end.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
October 6, 2016
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.
October 6, 2016
Considering how easily the material could turn maudlin, it's especially notable that Bayona avoids overstatement.
Full Review | Original Score: B
September 11, 2016
A splendidly rendered, yet oddly ill-conceived terminal-illness melodrama that feels much too dark and serious for audiences Conor's age, and an even more curious fit for grown-ups.
September 10, 2016
There's a truly monstrous film lurking in here somewhere, but Bayona seems hell-bent on keeping it at bay.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
September 10, 2016
A sensitive and beautifully made lesson in the limits and power of storytelling.