A Monster Calls. No edits, just rambling. Good luck.
Amusingly (?), as I clicked to start this, Facebook showed me a link that said ‘Your Story’, which ties very closely to the film’s plot. I won’t go over the film’s plot here. If anyone actually reads my ramblings, they are either here because they’re wondering if I make less sense when drunk, or are interested in what I think of a film. If they want an informed opinion about film, or a spoiler free synopsis, there’s Mark Kermode (sadly there’s no longer Norman, Siskel or Ebert), they’d best look elsewhere.
OK, so… when I read the book, I was going through the same as the main character, that is, the impending loss of a family member. There were emotions I experienced that the book helped me to understand. It was so prescient that my brother lent me the book when he did (The Writer at War also helped me understand things at the same time, but, until they make a film about that, you’ll only get that from me over a beer).
The film deals with loss. It’s about loss. It discusses it in a fantastical manner, but essentially, a mature one that really cuts. I don’t know if I’ve experienced more loss than I should at my age, less or just the right amount, but from a personal viewpoint, I feel I’ve had more than I should for my age and don’t especially want any more. There will be though. No escaping that. Should I spend time getting ready? Should I be prepared? Or is that wasting time?
Erm, so, I’m not sure where I got to, but, when I though about typing this up, I wanted to discuss how, when I read the book, I was experiencing loss from one end, bit now, watching the film, I’m thinking about it from another. As a father, one of my feats is having to explain it to my son. I’m scared to buy him a pet because it will die and I’ll have to expose him to that truth – that loss is part of life. I keep thinking of the album title The Letting Go (Bonnie Prince Billie. Fantastic album. Buy it), because isn’t that the biggest part of life? Personally, I am fortunate in the fact that I am surrounded by awesome people I care for (and I might not tell you, but if I buy you a Christmas card, a pint, share DNA with you or take the piss out of you, you’re in this group), but this means there’s people I will have to let go of. OK, I was digressing. That’s what these reviews are about, and if you’re still here, you rock. My major fear, my keeping me awake at night fear, is that idea of exposing my son to death. He already asks what dead people look like. I mean what the fuck? How do you answer that? Why do you answer that? Should you answer that? I was playing the last Batman game and there was the Joker about to be cremated. I didn’t expect this and my son saw it and the dead Joker fascinated him.
So, the film. The cast is spot on. The young lad is brilliant. He looks like he’s from a film that they’d wheel in the TV and video in a lock box in to the classroom to show, but his emotional performance is fantastic. Liam Neeson was right. I didn’t see it when reading the book, but he is absolutely right. Sigourney Weaver, even, makes sense when you look back at the book. There’s a moment in the film where the monster fills the screen (he looks like he does in the book, too, kudos to the animators) and it is perfect. He fills the world of the boy and he is a giant protector.
In conclusion, watch it.