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Entries in Monster Calls/A [2016] (1)


A Monster Calls (2016)

Fantasy may be our best means of coping with life's traumas. Just look at all the movies about creatures who help kids discover that the power to stop bullies/survive wars/stare down death was inside them all along. Through metaphor, dragon-slaying swords become pointed wit; outmaneuvering a child-eating Pale Man becomes a dry-run for dodging abusive stepdads. Then there's A Monster Calls. The NeverEnding Story for Generation Emoji, this easy and obvious tearjerker follows Conor (Lewis MacDougall), a Watery-Eyed BoyTM whose mother's impending death has made him the kind of sullen sociopath-in-training that only a talking tree would engage. This is no Iron Giant, no Pan's Labyrinth. Like Kubo and the Two Strings, awesome production design offers little comfort in an alarmingly shallow sea of narrative nonsense. Metaphor be damned: Conor's Freudian Ent explains absolutely everything in countless multi-minute monologues, instantly drying up whatever tendrils of imagination might have taken root.

Listen to Kicking the Seat Podcast #185, wherein Ian branches out in his discussion of A Monster Calls with Keeping it Reel's David Fowlie!