A Monster Calls, the newest effort from visionary director J.A. Bayona, isn't slated to hit theaters until January of next year, but that hasn't stopped moviegoers from starting to wonder just what we can expect from the upcoming feature. As both an avid fan of the book by Patrick Ness and as someone reveling in anticipation for the movie, I find even myself asking that question. Will this film live up to the legacy of its source material? More importantly, will it be able to tackle the all too relatable struggles of what it means to come face to face with mortality? Check out the most recent trailer for the film below:
For those unfamiliar with the book, you may want to turn away now as there will definitely be SPOILERS ahead. You have been warned.
What Is 'A Monster Calls' About?
To a newcomer, it may seem like another fantasy adventure tale in the same vein as Pan's Labyrinth or The Neverending Story, but I can assure you, while it does borrow some elements of those stories, it couldn't be more different.
The story surrounds that of 13-year-old Conor O'Malley who one day awakes to the frightening sight of a monster standing outside his bedroom window. Though not wishing him harm, the monster does come for a reason. It wants something from Conor. It wants the truth of why he called.
The story is the brain child of deceased children's author, Siobhan Dowd, who tragically lost her life to cancer before she could write the book herself. Patrick Ness was able to piece together the fragments of Dowd's imagination and craft it into a story of mischief, grief, loss, and the terrible toll of denial.
The Deeper Meaning Behind The Monster
If you haven't read the book, it's pretty clear to see from the trailer that Conor's mother is going through a rather difficult battle against cancer. Throughout the story, she goes from treatment option to treatment option, each one least likely to work than the last. And even though the reader is led to believe Conor believes in the hope his mother promises, we soon find out that's not the case.
Conor's inability to allow himself to accept the truth of his mother's condition is what brings the monster forward. He must learn to accept what will always be out of his control. The monster, aiding in this effort, comes to Conor because he needs something to allow himself to feel and to express the anger, the depression, the rage dwelling deep inside of him.
A Fright Of Another Sort
The story comes from an intense place, not meant to keep you awake at night endlessly wondering about that sweater sleeve hanging out of the closet, but instead to provoke that inner monster within us all that can result in the wake of tragedy. This is the best kind of fear that will be presented in this tale of a boy and his arboreal friend. A fear that cannot be ignored, only accepted, dealt with, and overcome with time, concern, and letting the walls come down. The greatest point A Monster Calls presents to its audience is that it is okay to grieve. It's human. But sometimes, even the most human of us, need a little push - or monster - to guide the way.
A Monster Calls hits theaters on January 6, 2017.
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Will you be checking out 'A Monster Calls' when it comes to theaters in January?