A visually stunning film about the fundamental truths of life and the monsters lurking in the dark places.

An adaptation of Patrick Ness’ award-­winning dark fantasy novel of the same name, A Monster Calls is a poetic study in dealing with inner turmoil. 12-year-old Conor has more than his share of troubles – losing his mother to terminal illness, the school bully, an estranged father and a seemingly cold grandmother who he is supposed to move in with once the inevitable happens. Pushed to the edge by these circumstances, an anguished Conor transforms a yew tree into a gigantic monster who tells fantastic fables to a boy “too old to be a kid, too young to be a man,” helping him understand and cope with harsh reality. Woven into the story by beautiful animated sequences, Liam Neeson lends his gravely, sonorous voice to the tree monster.

Felicity Jones, woman of the hour after the latest Star Wars installment, shows off her versatility as Conor’s artistic and loving mother opposite Sigourney Weaver’s strict and emotionally distant grandmother. Newcomer Lewis MacDougall’s piercingly sad Conor is sensitive, imaginative and angered by his own powerlessness in his fight with every child’s biggest fear: losing a parent. Originally created by children’s book author Siobhan Dowd – who died of cancer before she could write the book herself – director Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage 2007, The Impossible 2012) delivers a heart-wrenchingly beautiful film about the times in life when only fantasy can make reality bearable. Bring your tissues.

Starts May 5, Haydn