A Monster Calls :: Lessons in Coping with Death…

Cineville - A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls is a film about death, and about how the stories we tell enable us to cope with death. It is the story is of a 13-year-old boy named Conor who is visited by a talking tree voiced by Liam Neeson. The tree tells Conor three dark and peculiar fairy stories in which clichés are overturned, expectations remain unmet and life is shown to be a painful and illogical thing full of misunderstanding and cruelty. Conor does not care for these stories. If he must listen to a story at all, he wants something that will help him vanquish his evil grandmother and save his dying mum from cancer. But ultimately, he gets the stories he needs.

I absolutely adored this film, most on account of the sheer amount of liquid that it forced out of my eyes. I realise as I've got older that what I really value in a film, and in all art, is being made sad or happy enough to cry uncontrollably, and this film wrung me out like a surprisingly wet rag.

Cineville - A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls is a phenomenally sad film. If you've lived through the cancer death of a young person, you will find it almost unbearable, but if you do bear it, it will reward you greatly. Of course, you most probably already know the lesson of the film — that the death of a loved one is the most terrific of all pain and that the only way to survive it is to love your way through it — but this particular telling is a beautiful journey.

Most of all, I think the message of A Monster Calls is that when faced with the ultimate cruelties of life, it's OK to be angry. It's even OK to smash things up now and then if you absolutely have to. Rage is part of the healing, and messily ever after is often the best we can hope for.


Cineville - A Monster Calls


The Viewing

I was on my way back from LAB111 after seeing Life, Animated, when, on a really top quality whim, I popped into FilmHallen to see if anything was on. A Monster Calls was on, so here I am.

I had set aside today to do some work on marketing myself, finding new readers, all that stuff, which is precisely why I'm so keen to avoid going home.

Watching two films in a row in different cinemas feels like the very height of decadence, but it isn't really. I'm educating myself. I'm learning how to be a better human. Good for me.

Also: I've cried all over this city.

Good for me.

About the Author

I am Karl Webster. I wrote these words. If you liked them, you'll be overjoyed to know that there are plenty more where they came from. So you should definitely sign up to my newsletter if you haven't already.

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