Yes, the overriding consensus coming out of the annual fest is that Bayona’s fantasy drama is an emotional roller coaster, chronicling the profoundly sad story of Conor O’Malley, a troubled 13-year-old, as he bears the brunt of a rapidly ailing mother (Felicity Jones) all the while dealing with a monstrous yew tree voiced by the inimitable Liam Neeson. And you thought your early teenage years were difficult. Lewis MacDougall anchors the on-screen drama as the haunted Conor, who seeks comfort in Neeson’s grand stories as his mother’s condition plunges from bad to worse to terminal. Sigourney Weaver and Toby Kebbell are also among the starry cast list.
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Initially on course to hit theaters later this month, Focus Features opted to postpone A Monster Calls to January – Bayona’s adaptation will enjoy a very limited release on December 23 – neatly aligning the tear-jerker with awards season. Those viewers chomping at the bit for Jurassic World 2 will also have a vested interest in Bayona’s latest, given he’ll be taking the reins on Universal’s 2018 sequel when it stomps into production after the turn of the year.
Prepare to reach for those tissues when A Monster Calls lumbers into theaters nationwide on January 6, when Bayona’s tear-jerker will face the tall order of Underworld: Blood Wars. It’s catering to a different audience, of course, and you can glean more information about the film via our exclusive interviews with both director and stars Felicity Jones and Lewis MacDougall.