A Monster Calls

Liam Neeson stars as a talking tree in J A Bayona’s A Monster Calls, adapted for the screen from his own novel by Patrick Ness.

It’s about a young teen called Conor, whose mother (Felicity Jones) is dying of cancer, who is bullied at school and who is being sent to live with his strict grandmother (played for some reason by Sigourney Weaver, maybe as part of  the same hitherto unpublicised bi-lateral US actor’s guild deal that brought Glenn Close here to be in The Girl With All the Gifts recently, maybe struck to balance out things like Andrew Lincoln and Dominic West being in all US tv shows.)

Anyway, in a highly production-designed version of Midlands Britain, Conor is so afraid of everything that his deepest fears get played out by this visiting yew tree who knocks off roof tiles and speaks like the guy from Taken. Somehow, the talking tree forces Conor to confront his nightmares via a series of cutely animated tales inserted into the action with varying degrees of tweeness.

Look, I get how I was supposed to feel during this, but for me it was too much to deal with the talking tree, and too hung up on its own grief. It practically wrings the tears out of you, although I”m sure many younger viewers will be affected for life by it, which is of course a very good thing.

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