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‘A Monster Calls’ review: Lewis MacDougall stars with Liam Neeson

Actor Lewis MacDougall from the movie

Actor Lewis MacDougall from the movie "A Monster Calls" with Kidsday reporters, from left, Isabella Niola from Old Westbury and Gionna Altebrando from Miller Place. Credit: Newsday/ Pat Mullooly

The movie “A Monster Calls” is a moving film for kids and adults. Twelve-year-old Connor, played by Lewis MacDougall, has a big imagination and faces incredible struggles in his life. This movie shows how he copes with everything. Connor cares for and helps treat his mom (Felicity Jones), who is dying of cancer, while his father is in and out of his life. As his mother’s condition worsens, Connor is cared for by his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver), with whom he does not have a good relationship. Besides dealing with his mom, Connor is followed by a monster that he doesn’t know is a dream or reality. He hopes the monster, an old tree voiced by Liam Neeson, is only there to help his mother get better, as well as his living situation with his grandmother.

Throughout the movie you see Connor’s emotions and the way he deals with his struggles. As a young boy, he is so intelligent, mature and courageous toward this questionable creature. By the end of the film, we are sure you will be feeling the same emotions that are portrayed by Connor.

After seeing this film, we met actor Lewis MacDougall at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and asked him about his role in the film.

Considering that you had to play a part where you had to act as if you were with a monster, how did you change your acting style?

I think the director was trying hard to have me get chemistry with something that is really not there. I was lucky to have lots of rehearsals and practice motion capture with Liam Neeson, who plays the monster. It gave me the chance to act with the person who is playing the monster.

What do you like to do in your free time? Do you like to draw like your character Connor?

I enjoy drawing, but it is something I am not good at. I am into sports so I am into fútbol [soccer]. I just like to hang around with my friends.

You had to cry a lot in the movie. What did you think of to make it work for you?

When I first got offered the part, I was excited and nervous at the same time. There is a lot of emotional stuff in the movie. That was the most challenging part. I would just use experiences in my own life to try and conjure up those emotions. I actually am quite grateful to have a great script to help get those emotions out.

What was it like working with Liam Neeson?

Liam was fantastic. I got to do the motion capture with him when we were both in weird, fancy suits. I only got to work with him for two weeks, but it was an honor.

“A Monster Calls” is rated PG-13, and we give it 4.5 (out of five) smiles.

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