"Stories are wild creatures, Conor O'Malley. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they may wreak?"
So Conor's Monster tells him before narrating one of his three tales. And it's true: Some stories don't go where you expect. That's because sometimes the truth at the end is hard for us to admit, hard for us to embrace.
That's certainly the case in A Monster Calls. This powerful parable of a boy's journey through grief uncovers some surprising truths by the time the credits roll. It's a movie that's equal parts intense—the Monster is visually frightening enough that it could leave young viewers with bad dreams themselves—and emotionally insightful. As the story unfolds, the Monster in the middle grows less monstrous and more … wise.
There's deep emotional resonance in the way Conor's bark-clad guide helps the admit—then accept—some hard truths about what he is really feeling about his mother's slow demise. In the end, the scary tree with the flaming red eyes isn't nearly as foreboding as it seems.
Instead, the Monster helps Conor to face the monsters in his own heart … and to begin moving forward after his mother's death. "It will be hard," the Monster tells the boy in his last conversation with him. "It will be more than hard. But you will make it through, Conor O'Malley."