Bring along your tissues, you may need them when A Monster Calls! (Spolier Alert)

I recently saw “A Monster Calls” and I was blown away by it. The films cast includes our admired Liam Neeson as the monster, Felicity Jones as Tessa, Connor’s mother and Lewis MacDougall as Connor.

You can view this film in all good cinemas.

The plot

The story followed a young boy named Connor, who was struggling in school and in his personal life, due to his mother’s illness. He was quiet and withdrawn and requires support. He was also being bullied at school and lacks the confidence to tell anyone or stand up for himself. My heart went out to him at that moment.

He was also not sleeping very well due to nightmares. His nightmares were always the same and centered around a large tree that Connor could see from his window.

A surprising figure was brought to his aid at 12.07 in the form of a tree that featured in his nightmares. The tree scares him at first and the sudden shaking of his bedroom was a rare occurrence. The tree said his name again and eh stared out the window as he saw a silluete of a large monster walk towards his window. It looked terrifying. The monster grabbed him and explained that his was going to tell Connor three stories. Connor is not convinced, but after some convincing, he decided to play along.

The tree explained the first story and the he listened. At first it resembled a story that was similar to Snow White, however there was a twist and it soon turned into a dark tale. Connor questioned the plot and the tree explained that there are no good or bad people in the world – that we have a bit of both.

Connor went back to school the next day and his grandma is waiting for him – and to let him know that he was going to live with her as his mother’s treatment was not working. Connor was not impressed and rebelled. His anger towards his grandma was bothering him at school and he withdrew from class, to be beaten up again.

Connor’s grandma was upper class, with an unbelievably posh house. All the ornaments were arranged in a certain. The living room was overshadowed by a grandfather clock, which was previously owned by grandma’s ancestors and had kept perfect time for the last 100 years.

He was left alone in the house and felt at home, until the doorbell rang, and there stood his dad. It was a shock to him but soon enough he bonded with his father and his soft and fun nature made Connor happy. Connor wanted to move to LA with his father, but he explained that the house was not big enough. He was disappointed and wished that his father could stay longer.

His father dropped him back of at his grandmas and he vandalised the living room, including her precious grandfather clock. He was angry and the tree appeared to tell him his second story – which consisted of an “Apothecary”, a pharmacist who refused to help others, included a young man who was trying to save his two daughters from death. The man he refused had previously preached about him and had been very negative towards him. The tree saw that Connor was confused and revealed that despite being very selfish, the Apothecary was a healer and had some good in him too.

By the time that Connor finished listening to the second story, the living room was trashed. His grandma returned home a few minutes later and cautiously entered the room, put her hand over her mouth in shock and left the room. Connor felt awful about it and went to his room for the night.

By the time Connor woke up the next morning, his father was downstairs making breakfast. His grandma had gone to the hospital to see his mother and it was not until Connor saw her there that he understood how stressed and unhappy she was.

Connor’s mother (acted by Felicity Jones) with her son, Connor

Connor learned that his mother was still not well and her health was deteriorating. Her treatment was still not working and he was amazed to find out that she would be treated with the healing power from the very tree who is visiting him. Connor had faith in the healing power of the tree and was convinced that she would survive but the tree and her father were more wary..

He went to bed but then he heard an odd voice. It was his mother’s…. He followed the voice and peaked into the living room. He found his grandma watching a video of him and his mother, his mother was teaching him to draw. The five year old Connor was following his mother’s instructions and drew a picture of a monster. Connor could see his grandma crying and he was getting teary and sad too.

Despite the sad video and his mother’s deterioration, Connor found a bit of inspiration and started drawing. He drew in his room and when he was visiting his mum. It was making him happy.

He was still struggling thought and he went to school to face a test – one that he had no time to revise for! He was then approached by the bully who had make his school life miserable, and after the third tale from the monster, he beat up the boy who bullied him. The story of the invisible man would no longer apply to him as the school were aware of his actions.

He was then pulled out of school later that day – and taken to the hospital where his mother told him that there was nothing more that could be done for her – that she would have to die.

Connor got upset and ran towards the tree, demanding it to wake and save his mother. The tree awoke and endured Connor’s shouting. The tree than demanded that Connor told the fourth tale and revealed his nightmare. Connor reluctantly told the tree that it concerned the loss of his mother and his inability to let go – the inability to accept the truth; that his mother was dying and not getting better. At this point, I was in floods of tears and could not hold them back, as Connor was genuinely gutted and upset that the tree could not save her.

The monster and Connor A monster calls.jpg
Connor (left) and the Monster (right), voiced by Liam Neeson

Conner then once again was called to the hospital, after he was found sleeping by the tree the next morning. This was the time that Connor was dreading and his grandma did not have to say anything. She knew that he was aware of her condition and that this was the last time he would see her alive.

He held her hand and told her what he had been holding back, the truth that he had wished he would never say – that he did not want to let go of her. Even writing this now a few hours on, I am bought to tears, as I could never imagine how awful this would be to ensure as a child.

At Connors side, was the monster, who looked straight at his mother, like seeing an old friend? It was not until he was shown his new bedroom in his grandma’s house that he found out that she met the monster as a child too.


It took me a while to write this review as I kept welling up. I am thankful that even with his struggles, that Connor was able to let go of his mother and move on. If it was not for the tree, Connor would have struggled with the transition and not learnt the truth about himself and his mother.


I recommend all the films I see, but this one stands out above them all. I have not been affected this much by another film for a long time and would see this film again and again. I will just remember tissues this time!

Bye for now


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