ROG'S VIEWPOINT - Having to deal with his mother's (Felicity Jones) illness, an unsympathetic grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) and bullies at school, 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall) gets unexpected help from a tree monster (Liam Neeson - voice and performance-capture). The "Monster" comes to the young boy at night to tell stories that will
help him deal with the overwhelming troubles in his life and reveal the truth in his heart. This mystical coming-of age drama is thoroughly engaging from beginning to end. Director J.A. Bayona ("The Impossible") and writer Patrick Ness, who adapted his own novel, paint a visually stunning picture of coping with grief and anger. The marvelous special effects range from the creature to stories that spring to life as colorful old-style animation. Lewis MacDougall is perfectly cast as a lad who must come to terms with changes in his life. He believably carries a majority of the film's scenes. Felicity Jones has a less heroic role than in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story", but she is no less effective as the ailing mother. Also dominant are Sigourney Weaver as the distant grandmother, Liam Neeson's commanding voice of the creature, Toby Kebbell as Conor's absentee father and Geraldine Chaplin as the Head Teacher. While this is a family film with a message, frightening images will scare younger children. Heartbreaking, yet richly rewarding, "A Monster Calls" is a gigantically impressive fantasy. 4 cams

Rated PG-13 / Running time: 108 minutes

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