So to go with the book A Monster Calls, we also watched the movie. The movie screenplay was written by the book author, Patrick Ness. The movie was great and well worth seeing. For starters, it has a great cast. Liam Neeson is the monster (yew tree), Sigourney Weaver is the grandma, and Felicity Jones (Jyn from Rogue One) is the mom (mum).
So I recommended you buy the book with the pictures. The intro as is done in a similar style as the pictures in the book. When the monster tells his story, they are animated water colors–just beautiful. In the movie, both Conor and his mum love art. We see Conor drawing all the time in the movie, and when he is talking to his dad, his dad mentions how his mum had wanted to go to art school and how similar they are (and how that’s a good thing).
In the movie, Conor’s friend Lily is not a part. It really didn’t take away from the movie and in some ways probably made Conor seem more lonely.
The movie also omitted the leaves, berries and branches that the tree monster leaves when he visits Conor. We decided that was likely because it was in Conor’s imagination in the book and would just be too confusing to actually show in the movie. (This was something we discussed prior to watching the movie–was the Monster real or imagined?)
One of the other main differences that was not included in the book–at the end of the movie, Conor’s grandma gives him the key to his room at her house. In the room, she has included some of his things as well as some pictures and things of his mother’s–including a sketchbook of hers. As he continues to flip through the watercolors, he starts to see the prince and his future bride under the yew tree, the prince then as king, the apothecary, the parson, then a small girl and then that same small girl sitting on the shoulder of the monster. It really was a more cohesive way to end the story, especially after introducing that both Conor and his mum were artist’s. It also made it feel less depressing which was nice.
The movie didn’t get a lot of press here for whatever reason, but I definitely would recommend it for a Netflix night. Just be prepared with some tissues nearby!