A Monster Calls — 3.5 Gavels 86% Rotten Tomatoes

                                               

When your choices of movies to review are Moonlight (advertised as young gay man’s struggle) and Elle ( a graphic rape-revenge “game”),  it seemed obvious to pick a movie about a child with a helpful monster.  For those of you who have read the book, you already know this choice was strike three! Or, as Lee Corso might say “Not so fast…”
It is said that the movies that are made are a reflection of the times in which we live.  If so, it seems to me that 2016 must have been a downer year for movie-makers.  This is not a movie where you will curl up on the couch and enjoy the wonders life has to offer.  To the contrary, this movie will make you SAD!
The Monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) seeks to help a young boy (Lewis MacDougall) cope with the realization that his mother (Felicity Jones) is dying of cancer.  Gravelly-voiced Neesom explains that humans are complicated beasts as he relates three cryptic stories to the distraught child.  The emotional outbursts are easily understandable but difficult to watch.  Tears will be shed.  The book/movie is justifiably critiqued as a dark fantasy.
If you get past the depressing nature of the story,  MacDougall is terrific,  Jones is believable, Sigourney Weaver underutilized, and the computer graphics are great.  There is a January feel to this movie as only 4 of us were in the theater. The movie has made $36 million on a budget of $43 million.
While this book/movie may be quite appropriate for children going through the horrors of cancer, I still have a rule against paying to be depressed.  You are forewarned.  I will continue to search for that can’t miss January movie.  While there are critical successes, where are the feel-good movies?  Stay tuned.

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