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Monster Calls, A

Monster Calls, A

Drama, Fantasy

A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mom's terminal illness.

The critical consensus

A determinedly weird and macabre exploration of mortality.

****(*)David Jenkins, Little White Lies, 28/12/2016

If this isn’t the biggest tearjerker of 2017 we’re in for a distressing year. A truly, ahem, tree-mendous fantasy.

****(*)Jordan Farley, Total Film, 28/12/2016

This is a subtle and very cleverly crafted film which has a searing emotional impact precisely because it isn’t scared to let the monster out - to acknowledge the boy’s rage and his guilt as well as his grief.

****(*)Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent, 29/12/2016

This is an affecting movie with a lump-in-the-throat ending, but I have to confess to finding its fantasy quotient a bit twee, and the non-fantasy scenes are themselves flavoured by a self-consciously imaginary storybook quality that took the sucrose content too high.

***(*)(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 29/12/2016

The special effects are impressive enough but what really matters are the performances.

****(*)Allan Hunter, Daily Express, 30/12/2016

Rich, imaginative and emotionally nourishing, it’s another hugely impressive work from Bayona.

****(*)Kevin Wight, TVBomb, 04/01/2017

The result is a heart-breaking family film told with plenty of emotion, imagination and a lot of artistic integrity.

****(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 04/01/2017

Lewis MacDougall is remarkable as a young boy dealing with grief in an excellent adaptation of the Patrick Ness novel.

****(*)Wendy Ide, The Observer, 08/01/2017

Part fairy tale/creature feature/domestic melodrama, this adds up to far more than a ‘one boy and his monster’ story — and is a tougher emotional journey as a result.

****(*)Dan Jolin, Empire Online, 09/01/2017

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

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