- Category: Reviews
- Published: Monday, 26 December 2016 22:26
The holidays are meant to be happy and merry, but not if you see these three totally depressing movies. Current movie releases A MONSTER CALLS, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA and COLLATERAL BEAUTY all deal with death of a parent or child. That definitely doesn’t scream holiday spirit.
If you want to have a good time at the movies, your best bet is the raucous OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller and Olivia Munn. However, if you want to see great performances, these three movies may fit the bill, but they are NOT your typical feel-good holiday movies.
A MONSTER CALLS
Based on the novel by Patrick Ness, and adopted beautifully by director JA Bayona for the big screen, the story deals with a boy (Lewis MacDougall) coping with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) terminal illness with the help of tree monster (Liam Neeson).
Everything from the performances, the visuals and the direction are impeccable. Lewis MacDougall’s performance is heart-breaking, while Felicity Jones is marvelous as the dying mother. Liam Neeson’s motion capture performance is also noteworthy.
However, the ending leaves you feeling rather sad, thinking of all those children who have lost a parent at a young age. A MONSTER CALL hits you where it hurts, but the artistry behind the film makes this one a must-see.
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
After his brother dies, Lee (Casey Affleck) returns to his hometown to take care of his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges), but his town is a painful memory of what he lost. Lee is coping with the loss of his children which he partially feels responsible for. Seeing his ex-wife (Michelle Williams) makes it all the harder to stay in the town and be responsible for his brother’s son.
While the performances are grade A, it’s a slice of life story about loss and grief. Other than that, it’s a slow moving film that’s short enough that you don’t get bored.
Will Smith plays Howard, a successful New York advertising executive who retreats from life after the death of his daughter. His work partners and friends hire actors to play Love, Time and Death to convince him to resume his life and business.
The cast is impressive with Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Michael Peña, Helen Mirren, Naomi Harris and Keira Knightley, but the star power is stronger than the story itself. While there is a beautiful message behind it, it often feels too melodramatic and forced. The tears didn’t flow as much as it did with A MONSTER CALLS, because the emotions didn’t feel genuine.
COLLATERAL BEAUTY is better suited as a Lifetime movie, and for some it will definitely inspire the water works.