“A Monster Calls” Review: Processing Grief Through a Tearjerker Film

A MONSTER CALLS (2016) Review
Directed by J.A Bayona

When was the last time you cried in a movie? In an animated family film? A romantic drama film? Either way, those film felt special the moment you cried those tears, it gave you sentimental reasons to be vulnerable and you let yourself free from the pain, just let it all out through crying. That is an understatement in how A Monster Calls uses drama, or family, or the love of a young boy to his mother to make its audience feel and fear, and hurt at the same time.

From the director of The Impossible (2012), J.A. Bayona once again gives us another heartbreaking story of processing grief of a young man who is about to lose his mother. A Monster Calls tells the story of Conor, who grew up with his mother after his parents got separated. Unfortunately, things got worse as his mother suffers from terminal cancer, the only person he loved is about to be taken away from him forever. So as a way to process his grief, to accept what he’s about to experience, he calls a monster to help him in a way he didn’t expected.

It’s a fantasy film, but it utilizes the fantasy to dig through Conor’s emotions, in a way that it presents the story to go deeper his emotions, every step leads to something sentimental, something special that it wants the audience to realize that this is what it feels like, this is how Conor copes with his grief, his anger, his pain, every emotion in the film is because of what will happen in the end, that heartbreaking ending that no one wants but it is inevitable.

I can’t remember the last film I let myself cry inside the cinema, and in A Monster Calls, it wasn’t just once. The film is something close to my heart, something people who treasure their parents, especially their mothers will greatly relate to. Felicity Jones is just remarkable in this film, and Lewis MacDougall perfectly portrays the rebel in us. It’s painful to watch, but the sad reality is that someone we love will eventually leave, and A Monster Calls excellently depicts how each one of us, at any age process grief in our own way, may it be big like inventing a monster, or small like breaking things.



4.5 Stars

“A Monster Calls” opens in Philippine cinemas November 2, 2016 from Pioneer Films. Rated PG by the MTRCB.

Leave a Reply