A Monster Calls is one of the most touching movies of the year. But while it boasts fine work from Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell and Liam Neeson, the stand-out performance is from newcomer Lewis MacDougall, who leads the way in A Monster Calls as Conor O'Malley, and is truly astounding throughout, especially when it comes to one scene in particular towards the end of A Monster Calls. Director J.A. Bayona has now revealed that this pivotal and revelatory moment in the film was done in just one shot and one take, which makes Lewis MacDougall's performance in it even more startling.
J.A. Bayona made this revelation to me when I sat down to talk about A Monster Calls with him earlier this month in New York City. I quizzed the filmmaker about Lewis MacDougall's stunning work in A Monster Calls, asking J.A. Bayona whether there was one specific moment during filming when he realized just how impressive the performance was. This provoked J.A. Bayona to recall:
While J.A. Bayona's quote and the above paragraphs don't go into too much detail regarding the scene, which comes towards the end of A Monster Calls, I'm going to discuss it in more detail now. So you probably shouldn't read ahead if you haven't watched A Monster Calls as it will definitely ruin it for you. Instead, watch its trailer below, and then click here for further reasons why you should see it.
The scene in question is, of course, when Conor O'Malley is told by the Monster to tell his own story, which leads to him revealing that he wants his mother's illness to be over, and for her to be at peace and die. It's a truly achingly emotional and surprising moment in A Monster Calls, and one that Lewis MacDougall is able to sell in a relatable, yet passionate, way, while Bayona revels in getting to the heat and heart of the moment. All in all, it's right up there with the movie scenes of the year.
You can check out a small part of my discussion with J.A. Bayona regarding A Monster Calls by clicking below.
Meanwhile, A Monster Calls is now in cinemas across the United States and it's a film that truly deserves to be seen by many, as it's a charming and heart wrenching tale of grief, childhood, and coming of age.