Who would have thought that a story about a little boy and a giant tree could be so emotional? Like a mesmerizing bedtime story, “A Monster Calls” is superior storytelling that sneaks up and quietly breaks your heart. After two winning performances in “The Theory of Everything” and “Rogue One”, Felicity Jones delivers yet again as a cancer-stricken single mother. Her son, Conor (a wonderful Lewis MacDougall), can’t seem to cope with the idea of losing his mother, so it’s up to a giant tree (voiced with ferocity and feeling by Liam Neeson) to help him. What sounds like a simple story at first soon turns into a magic carpet ride with fantastic visual effects and just the right balance between fantasy and reality. I don’t how children will react to all this. One thing’s for sure: “A Monster Calls” is a high-quality piece of work from director J.A. Bayona (“The Impossible”) that creates a world all its own and showcases two gifted actors. Don’t let this one get away. It’s one of the best fantasy films I’ve seen in quite a while.
★★★ Very good