A young boy (Lewis MacDougall) with a sick mom (Felicity Jones) gets to know a friendly tree giant whom no one else can see, at least not initially. The giant, of course, is a metaphor for the fervent imagination of a boy coping with grief and the cruel pestering of classmates. Will the audience that said “no” to The BFG say “yes” to A Monster Calls? At least the tree giant doesn’t resemble the creepy Mark Rylance.
Patrick Ness‘s 2011 novel is a respected fable about a kid’s internal life. The film’s just-released trailer suggests once again that a subtle approach hasn’t been chosen. Clearly aimed at the family idiot trade.
As I noted last April, A Monster Calls seems to lack the quiet spookiness of Guillermo del Toro‘s somewhat similar Pan’s Labyrinth, and seems a far cry from the the carefully layered, exquisitely underplayed The Orphanage (’07), which is Bayona’s masterpiece.
The apparent reliance on CG overkill in A Monster Calls indicates there will be little if any scenes along the lines of this classic clip from The Orphanage: