Fantastic Catharsis in J. A. Bayona’s Phenomenal “A Monster Calls”

In J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls, the director mixes the hyper-reality of the agonizing struggles of a young boy named Conor O’Malley with a vibrant fantasy world involving a titanic tree monster.  Like in Bayona’s previous feature El Orfanato (The Orphanage), reality and fantasy are blended together in fascinating ways, until it is not quite clear precisely what we are looking at.  Though certainly a daunting task, Bayona and his performers manage to tell an engaging coming-of-age story about grief, coping, and the power of storytelling.

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