A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mother's terminal illness.


J.A. Bayona


Patrick Ness (screenplay by), Patrick Ness (based upon the novel written by) | 1 more credit »
3,560 ( 541)
39 wins & 56 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Lewis MacDougall ... Conor
Sigourney Weaver ... Grandma
Felicity Jones ... Mum
Toby Kebbell ... Dad
Ben Moor ... Mr. Clark
James Melville ... Harry
Oliver Steer Oliver Steer ... Sully
Dominic Boyle ... Anton
Jennifer Lim ... Miss Kwan
Max Gabbay Max Gabbay ... Steven
Morgan Symes ... Lawyer
Max Golds Max Golds ... 5-Year-Old Connor
Frida Palsson Frida Palsson ... Lily's Mum
Wanda Opalinska ... Female Nurse
Patrick Taggart Patrick Taggart ... Teacher


The monster does not come walking often. This time it comes to Conor, and it asks for the one thing Conor cannot bring himself to do. Tell the truth. This is a very touching story about a boy who feels very damaged, guilty and mostly angry. He struggles at school with bullies, and pity looks from everyone, and at home with his mother's sickness. Will Conor overcome his problems? Will everything be okay? Will Conor be able to speak the truth?

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Courage conquers all. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic content and some scary images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The church that is featured is called St. Thomas' at Heights, Delph, Oldham. A grade-2 listed building, which closed in 1963. See more »


When "Grandma" gets stuck in traffic and curses, Sigourney Weaver drops her accent. See more »


[first lines]
Conor: [having a nightmare] Mama! Mama!
Conor: [waking] How does the story begin?
The Monster: It begins like so many stories. With a boy, too old to be a kid. Too young to be a man. And a nightmare.
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Alternate Versions

The North American DVD and Blu-ray releases slow down the film's audio pitch at 4%. However, the film remains normal-pitched on digital platforms. See more »


Referenced in DuckTales: The Missing Links of Moorshire! (2018) See more »


Tear Up This Town
Written by Tim Rice-Oxley
Performed by Keane
See more »

User Reviews

Dramatic as well as spectacular Spanish/British/US co-production based on a prestigious novel and masterfully directed by Juan Antonio Bayona
1 February 2019 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Stirring and tragical story based on a notorious novel and competently directed by Juan Antonio Bayona . Including an engaging screenplay by Patrick Ness , based upon the novel written by himself from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd . A devastating event happens in the life of a little boy , twelve-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall) , as he seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mother's (Felicity Jones) terminal . Meanwhile , he must face his stiff-upper-lip grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) , his estranged father (Toby Kobbel) and the school bully . This is one family's moving story of sadness and love . As Conor is caught in a chaotic self-destruction , when he then is visited by the tree-like Monster (Lian Neeson) , who tells Conor it has to come to tell him three true stories . However , nothing is more powerful than the human spirit . Stories are wild creatures. Courage conquers all . Will he survive ?

It's a grade A picture , a gem , absorbing , riveting , highly moving , incredibly tense .This is a very touching story about a boy who feels very damaged , unsettling , guilty and mostly angry , as well as his relationship with a benevolent and wise tree-like monster that has points in common with Treebeard the Ent from Lord of the Rings . This is a psychological/exciting/thrilling drama in which a boy becomes involved into a terrible tragedy . It is a smart and sensitive flick filled with intense drama , thrills , emotion , tear-jerker , state-of-art special effects , and pretty entertaining , though overlong . The complex plot deals with a tree-monster who tells three tales and after which Conor must tell the Monster his own story: the truth behind his nightmare, which Conor refuses to do. Interesting and thought-provoking screenplay based on a novel that was originally started by Siobhan Dowd who left it unfinished, at her death. Patrick Ness finished the book with credits to her idea. This stirring pic is a tightly-knit drama centered on the relentless personal fight , as it follows an affected boy suffering extreme bullying , and a seriously wounded mother , as she struggles to survive . The picture makes up for it with an evolving atmosphere of anxiety and fear . Everything in Juan Antonio Bayona 's impressive film looks so real that you might think it's a highly fantastic movie full of imagination and color , thanks to the sensational animated images and cartoon resolution . And a great main and support cast , such as Lewis MacDougall , Sigourney Weaver , Felicity Jones , Toby Kebbell . And Liam Neeson, who provides the voice of the Monster , appears as Conor's grandfather in the photo of Conor's mother as a little girl being carried by her father .

Lavishly produced by Enrique López Lavigne , Belen Atienza , Patrick Ness , Bill Pohlad , Jeff Skoll , Patrick Wachsberger , among others.There is the urgent hand-held camera-work, a trademark refined and perfected by cameraman Oscar Faura , which lends an air of pseudo-authenticity to carefully staged reconstructions, putting us right there in the huddle of the action . Shot in various locations as Castlefield, Manchester, Greater Manchester, England, Cabrils, Barcelona, Catalonia, Delph, Greater Manchester, England, UK , the school scenes were shot at Colne Valley High School in Linthwaite, Huddersfield, England. Furthermore , an emotive as well as enjoyable musical score by Fernando Velazquez .The motion picture was compellingly directed by Juan Antonio Bayona who proved his usual aesthetics and nail-biting filmmaking as well as he formerly made in ¨the orphanage¨and ¨The imposible¨or ¨Lo imposible¨ . Bayona has directed 1 actress to an Academy Award-nominated performance: Naomi Watts (Best Actress, Lo imposible or the impossible (2012) and Sigourney Weaver in this ¨A monster call¨. Rating : This excellent film results to be above average , a really magnificent movie . Essential and indispensable seeing . The picture will appeal to J.A. Bayona fans .

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Frequently Asked Questions

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UK | Spain | USA



Release Date:

6 January 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Monster Calls See more »


Box Office


$43,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,909, 25 December 2016

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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