A Monster Calls (2016)

Based on the novel by Patrick Bess, director J.A. Bayona’s “A Monster Calls” is an exquisite and surprisingly moving exploration of grieving. Led by an extraordinary performance by young Lewis MacDougall, the movie sets out to teach children how to channel their grief and frustrations productively, doing so with the use of various narrative tools like an invisible giant, a difficult grandmother, a sick mother and a bully problem at school. It’s unlike anything I think I’ve seen and it may be too emotionally demanding for young children, but for those who are ready, there are plenty of effective psychological tools woven naturally into the compelling narrative. Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver are first-rate in meaty supporting roles.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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