Don’t Judge a Book by its Movie is a feature on The Candid Cover spotlighting and reviewing book to movie adaptations.
Authors: Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd (conception)
Narrator: Jason Isaacs
Publisher: Candlewick on Brilliance Audio
Cast: Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Liam Neeson
Director: J.A. Bayona
Screenplay: Patrick Ness
Summary (From Goodreads): An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.
A heart-wrenching and moving audiobook and film, A Monster Calls is a unique story that digs deep into the themes of death and the grieving process. The movie is perfectly cast and is only slightly different from the original story, making it one of the best book to movie adaptations that I have seen in a while.
This story is such an amazing work and it is impressive to think that the idea was conceived by one author and then written by another. The book is a combination of realistic fiction and fantasy, in that the main character Conor’s daily life is explored alongside the fantasy world of the Monster. The narrator, Jason Isaacs, performs all of the characters and really makes the Monster come to life. There are 3 stories that the Monster shares with Conor and it is through the Monster that Conor is able to begin understanding himself and his own truth.
It is always a relief when the screenplay for a book to movie adaptation is written by the author of the book. Somehow, there is less variation of the original story and the ideas conveyed in the book remain the same. This is definitely the case for the film version of A Monster Calls. There are some minor differences and the addition of art as a theme in the film, which actually adds to the impact it has on the audience. There are some big names in this film, such as Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson, who are are definitely brilliant in their roles and will draw people to see this film. Lewis MacDougall, who plays Conor, is flawless and especially wonderful to watch.
A Monster Calls is just as enjoyable on the screen as it is to listen to as an audiobook. While reading the book beforehand is not necessary, I do recommend reading or listening to this beautiful story. The movie is one that anyone will enjoy and learn from and it was well worth the long wait for its release.