Sigourney Weaver is known for a wide variety of work over the years with movies spanning from the furthest reaches of space to haunted cabins in the woods. The award-winning actress has taken almost every kind of role though some of her best work has always been in and around the sci-fi genre.
But recently she was in a movie a bit different than some of her other work in the past. It’s very much worth the watch and soon you can catch Sigourney Weaver in A Monster Calls streaming on Netflix starting January 16th.
A Monster Calls is a very different kind of fantasy movie with a central plot but offshooting into various, one-off stories that help tie together some of the themes. It stars Lewis MaCDougall as Conor, an artistic pre-teen loner whose single mother (Felicity Jones) is terminally ill. The two have a close relationship but it’s wrought with sadness because his mother isn’t expected to recover. Sigourney Weaver plays his grandmother, a strict no nonsense matriarch who is suffering in her own right with the impending loss in the family.
Where the story turns into the fantasy realm is when Conor is visited by a massive, living tree monster who sets about to tell stories which loosely align with the young man’s struggles. What it turns into is a deep exploration of grief in a movie that bends the ideas of reality and imagination. There are moments in which it’s difficult to tell if the action is happening in real life, or simply within Conor’s imagination. Sigourney Weaver’s presence, much different than what we’ve seen from her as Ridley, has a sense of grounding the character even if she’s part antagonist for some of the film. Check out the trailer for A Monster Calls to see what I mean:
A Monster Calls is a visually stunning movie, often overlapping Conor and the Monster’s (voiced by Liam Neeson) relationship with the current constrictions of his world. It leads to some mind-bending scenes that look like they are right out of the pages of an illustrated picture book. It’s sad, of course, having the main character work through the inevitability of his mother’s death while also dealing with his relationship with Sigourney Weaver’s character as well as bullies at school.
The movie, directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible) was a huge hit with critics, scoring 86% on Rotten Tomatoes through 264 reviews. It earned some pub on a number of different award dockets like The Empire Awards for Best Sci/Fi Fantasy and The Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Visual Effects. Heck, Sigourney Weaver was even nominated Best Supporting Actress at the AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards.
It may have flown under the radar at the box office when it came out in 2016, earning only $47 million on it’s $43 million budget. That’s too close a call for most studios. But it doesn’t speak to just how of a film it is. Will it go down as one of Sigourney Weaver’s most popular films? Of course not. But it may just be one of her best.