Film Review: 'A Monster Calls'

Film Review: 'A Monster Calls'

I gaurantee this film will bring tears to the most cold-hearted person on earth.
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Very few films have moved me to tears. Not because I am a sociopath or just a stoic bastard but just because not many films have been able to impress me... okay that's an overstatement, a lot of films impress me but very few of these films strike a deep chord within me. Usually, the films that do, are a result of nostalgic value such as most Disney films, or films that broke boundaries and tackled subjects not a lot of films tend to like "American History X."

Then I saw "A Monster Calls," and I am telling you right now.... no film has ever moved me to tears as much as this film.

Earlier this year, I reviewed Patrick Ness's book of the same name. While I was aware it was being adapted into a film, I didn't mention it because I don't usually mention movies when discussing the book because I want you to go out and read the book. Rarely, do I recommend seeing a film adaptation of the book, but this is one of those rare times. A Monster Calls isn;t only an amazing adaptation, but also an amazing film.

Just like the book, the film revolves around a boy, Connor O'Malley, whose mother is stricken with cancer and is dying. Conner is in denial and constantly insists that his mother is going to get better, even though it's pretty clear she isn't. He seeks solace through his love of drawing, a talent that was taught to him by his mother who wanted to be an artist. Through his denial and his art, he conjures up a monster, who is in the form of a tree located at the nearby church. The monster visits him every night at seven past midnight. And yes this specific time is important. He plans to tell Conner, three stories that relate to him, and on the fourth night, he want's Connor to tell his tale, which is a truth he doesn't want to admit.

I won't go into too many details about the movie as it goes on because I still want you to read the book and watch the film (one of the other.) But I will mention the lesson involved.

At the end of the film, Conner finally admits that he wants every to just end. He is sick of waiting for his mother to die, he's sick of his mother suffering, as he says "I just want it to be over." Yes, it is a bit selfish because he is referring to himself, but that's what makes him human. And this relates back to the stories the monster tells him. Without describing the stories, it involves certain people doing terrible things but at the same time seem to be very good-hearted people, and even vice-versa. And the message becomes clear in the end. There is no such thing as bad people or good people because we are all bad people as well as good people. Conner is just like us, he's selfish, he's angsty, he's angry, he's upset, he as all the negative emotions we universally share. But he doesn't want his mother to die. It's made very clear that he loves her, and is denying the truth that she's going to make it, which hurts him. He doesn't like the dread of waiting for her mother to pass on and just wants it to be over and done with, even if it means he will loose her.

The message is a bit more than obvious but this was meant for a younger audience so I can't criticize for that. It acts as a message for teens and adults as it does for children. How we can't run away from the inevitable, how we must come to terms with loved one passing and learn to let them go. We can't hold our pain inside and pretend it isn't there because it won't make what's causing the pain go away.

The cinematography is beautiful, with many impressive camera shots that sort of hint at arthouse style, as well gothic art, almost as if it's trying to mimic the artwork of the book.

The cast is also a great cast. Lewis MacDougall gives a believable performance as Conner, even if he looks pale as a ghost throughout the film. Felicity Jones (who also stared in Inferno and Star Wars: Rogue One) plays the mother, and you can tell she is putting her all into it to portray a sick mother who is clearly trying to hide her pain from everyone around her. A-list actor Liam Neeson voices the Monster, and finally, Signourney Weaver plays the uptight but good-natured grandmother. They all give an A+ performance and their emotions are the center of what makes this movie an experience.

I have absolutely no criticism's towards this film. Not only is it a loyal adaptation to the book, but its an amazing film. It had heart in all the right places. It's visually beautiful and creative. Despite the target audience, it was meant for, it never talks down to the viewer, making it an enjoyable film for adults. Most importantly, its message is deep, relatable and universal because it's something we are all going to have to face. There is a lot more to this film I didn't write about because I want you to go see the film for yourself and experience the same.

I am proud to give this movie a five out of five stars.

P.S. I'm just fanboying here, but one of my favorite shows, when I was little, was HBO's short-lived series, "The Worst Witch" and Felicity Jones played as Ethel Hallow and I had a major crush on her even, if she was a stuck-up jerk to Mildred.

Cover Image Credit: http://t3.gstatic.com/

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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Short Stories On Odyssey: Roses

What's worth more than red roses?

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Five years old and a bouquet of roses rested in her hands. The audience-- clapped away her performance, giving her a standing ovation. She's smiling then because everything made sense, her happiness as bright as the roses she held in her hands.

Fifteen now, and a pile of papers rested on her desk. The teachers all smiled when she walked down the aisle and gave them her presentation. She was content then but oh so stressed, but her parents happy she had an A as a grade, not red on her chest.

Eighteen now and a trail of tears followed her to the door. Partying, and doing some wild things, she just didn't know who she was. She's crying now, doesn't know anymore, slamming her fists into walls, pricking her fingers on roses' thorns.

Twenty-one and a bundle of bills were grasped in her hands. All the men-- clapped and roared as she sold her soul, to the pole, for a dance. She's frowning now because everything went wrong, but she has to stay strong, for rich green money, is worth more than red roses.

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