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A Monster Calls

also known as “Noite,” “Un monstruo viene a verme,” “Canavarin Çagrisi,” “Loi Thinh Cau Quai Vat,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for thematic content and some scary images.

Reviewed by: Toni Jay

Moral Rating: Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Teens Adults
Genre: Fantasy Adventure Drama Adaptation
Length: 1 hr. 48 min.
Year of Release: 2016
USA Release: December 23, 2016 (limited—4 U.S. theaters)
January 6, 2017 (wide—1,523 theaters)
DVD: March 28, 2017
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Relevant Issues

child dealing with parent’s illness and death

Issue of pain and suffering

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

Teen Qs—Christian Answers® for teenagers
Teens—Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Featuring Lewis MacDougall … Conor
Sigourney WeaverGrandma
Felicity JonesMum
Liam NeesonThe Monster
Geraldine ChaplinThe Head Teacher
Toby KebbellDad
See all »
Director J.A. Bayona
Juan Antonio Bayona — “The Impossible” (2012), “The Orphanage” (2007)
Producer Apaches Entertainment
La Trini
See all »
Distributor: Focus Features. Trademark logo.
Focus Features
, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast

“A Monster Calls” is a cleverly constructed metaphor revolving around its central character Conor O'Malley, and his struggle in coming to terms with his mother’s terminal illness. The Monster visits him at the same time each night, telling him three stories. The creature finally leaves him with an ultimate challenge: he has to tell the fourth tale or else… The story finally culminates in a nightmare, however nothing is what it seems. The nightmare enables Conor to admit to the simplest truth of all.

The tales are allegories of adult truths that the child cannot deal with on a conscious level. The mental challenge for the viewer is to find the link between fantasy and reality. As Conor experiences his own catharsis, the monster is revealed as more friend than foe, and the old truth is explored: no human is completely good.

sin and the fall of man

goodness and righteousness

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

There is no sex or overtly offensive language used in the movie. There is reference made to Conor being conceived out of wedlock, and a subtle reference is made to the hypocrisy of the church and its clergy. This may influence people to be negative towards the faith. There are some scary or disturbing scenes not suitable for younger viewers.

HYPOCRISY IN THE CHURCH — “I would never be a Christian; they’re a bunch of hypocrites.”


Jesus once asked someone why he called Him good. He told the man that no one is good except God alone (Mark 10:18). Conor not only has to accept that his mother is dying; he also has to face his own conflicting desires. So often, we want to take on the role of the victim, yet, at times, we are the monster. We are unable to save ourselves. In the end, it is only the truth that sets us free.

“A Monster Calls” is at times dark and disturbing, but so are the issues of our own mortality and fallibility. It is worth watching, with sterling performances by Lewis MacDougall and Sigourney Weaver. There is enough humor to balance moments of sadness and drama, and we are once again reminded that our lives on Earth are temporary. What comes after this is eternal. Like his previous work (“The Impossible”) director J.A. Bayona’s Monster does not disappoint.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild—OMG (2), “By G*d,” “d*mn,” “a**hole” / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Does God feel our pain? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

About hope

Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on Christian Answers—full-length motion picture.

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Movie Critics
…a nostalgic and superb coming-of-age journey that’ll have audiences grabbing all the hankies. …[3½/4]
Brian Truitt, USA Today
…a tearjerker…one of the year’s finest…
Nick Romano, Entertainment Weekly
…a luscious, painterly fantasy overcast with sadness… a film which keeps devising ever-more-epic collisions between an angry boy and his own sorrow…
Tim Robey, The Telegraph [UK]
…told with great intimacy and tenderness, and photographed, by Oscar Faura, with extraordinary attention to detail. It’s impossible to say which is more moving, Conor grasping at every straw that suggests his mother will recover or clutching her out of desperate fear that she won’t. …
Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
…This family weepie about a boy who imagines a monster to cope with the impending loss of his mother tugs at the heartstrings and aims for wonder—but still comes up a little short…
Nigel M. Smith, The Guardian (UK)
…one of the more unnerving, impressive special-effects creations of the year. Whether it and the movie in general are too intense for younger children is something parents need to ask themselves. …Visually it will certainly stick with you, and your children. …
Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times
…an emotional and dark fairy tale…
Edward Douglas, New York Daily News
…gothic fable… A splendidly rendered, yet oddly ill-conceived terminal-illness melodrama that feels much too dark and serious for audiences Conor's age, and an even more curious fit for grown-ups. …
Peter Debruge, Variety

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