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Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2016: #7. Juan Antonio Bayona’s A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls

Director: J.A. Bayona
Writer: Patrick Ness

Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona adapts Patrick Ness’ celebrated children’s book A Monster Calls for his third feature. Ness re-worked the story for the screen in this US-Spanish co-production from Bayona, whose previous films were the Guillermo Del Toro executive produced The Orphanage (2007) and Oscar nominated The Impossible (2012). The tale concerns a 13 year old boy who suffers a recurring nightmare every night since his mother fell ill. In response to the child’s plight, a tree from the garden outside transforms itself into a monster and visits the boy. A teaser trailer dropped in November, and several stills were released in Spain, with principal photography having finished much earlier in 2015. Liam Neeson stars as the tree monster, and it seems the considerable special effects required explain the prolonged post-production period. Bayona tapped Sigourney Weaver to play newcomer Lewis MacDougall’s cold grandmother while Felicity Jones appears as the ailing mother. Bayona also includes Geraldine Chaplin once more, who has appeared in both his previous titles.

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Liam Neeson, Geraldine Chaplin, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall

Production Co.: Apaches Entertainment, La Trini, Participant Media, River Road Entertainment

U.S. Distributor: Focus Features

Release Date: Bayona’s film is slated to hit theaters on October 14, 2016, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it premiered a month prior at TIFF.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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