A Monster Calls Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

A few years ago, the Spanish director Antonio Bayon’s film A Monster Calls, based on the book by Patrick Ness, was presented to the audience. Despite the fact that the work belongs to the fantasy genre, the meaning of the plot in the film A Monster Calls is quite deep. A simple life story of ordinary people causes shock and tearful experiences. A review of the film will help to understand the phenomenon of film drama in more detail.

Plot Summary

The film begins with a nightmare of a teenager. The boy dreams of a cemetery and a mother falling into a bottomless abyss, whom he tries to hold by the hand. This dream causes a lot of emotions in a teenager: fear, horror, panic.

Further development of the story reveals the cause of the child’s terrible night dreams and provides an explanation for the hidden meaning of the film A Monster Calls.

Big problems for a little man

In the center of the plot is an ordinary English 12-year-old boy, Connor O’Malley. The teen’s parents divorced. My father went to America, where he has a new family, meetings with his son are quite rare. Mother (Lizzy) is seriously ill, so Connor is forced to do household chores on his own – cook food, do laundry, keep the house in order.

Because of his mother’s illness, the boy withdrew into himself. The pity of the teachers, who learned about the difficult situation, only aggravated the situation, alienating the teenager from classmates. The boy suffers all alone. He has no friends who can support Connor. Classmates constantly bully him.

As Connor’s mother’s condition worsens, various thoughts begin to torment him. On the one hand, he wants everything to be over as soon as possible. On the other hand, I hope that my mother will get better.

Interesting! The idea of ​​the book, on which the film was based, belongs to the writer Shivan Daoud, who died of cancer. The news of the fatal illness prompted Shivan to write a novel, which had to be completed by Patrick Ness.

Lizzy’s mother comes to O’Malley to take her grandson to her place. But Connor does not want to be separated from his mother and move in with his grandmother. In addition, the boy does not like the grandmother at all, she seems dry and callous to him. Such a difficult situation leads to the fact that the teenager begins to suffer from nightmares.


A huge yew tree grows near the house. When the boy becomes very ill, the tree comes to life, taking the form of a terrible monster. But the monster does not scare Connor, he begins to communicate with him, coming to him every night.

To support the child, the Monster offers him a deal: three of his stories in exchange for a fourth told by Connor.

The boy agrees, the monster tells parables:

  • about a prince who committed murder to save the kingdom;
  • about a greedy doctor who healed people;
  • about a pastor, on the one hand, preaching morality, on the other hand, depriving the doctor of the means for preparing potions.

Having completed the last story, the Monster demands that the boy tell his own. The teenager, overcoming his fears, confesses to the monster in the secret thoughts and desires that have tormented him since the day of his mother’s illness.

After nightly conversations with the Monster in a teenager, emotions are released, resulting in aggression: the boy organizes a pogrom in his grandmother’s living room and even beats a bully.

By the end of the film, the boy’s mother dies and Connor goes to live with his grandmother. In Lizzy’s former room, the child finds an album of mother’s drawings. Among them are images of a monster tree and the heroes of its stories.


To understand the meaning of the film A Monster Calls, you must first understand what the authors of the picture were trying to convey to the viewer.

The film addresses such important issues as:

  • relationship between parents and children;
  • childhood loneliness;
  • the theme of good and evil.

The three stories told by the Monster show that there is no clear division between good and bad. What seems to be good is not always so, just like evil, in which a good deed can be hidden.

In the film A Monster Calls, the meaning of the picture is revealed in the scene when Connor tells his story. The monster forces the boy to voice his thoughts, to confess to himself in unpleasant feelings. Denial and non-acceptance of feelings only leads to destruction. Whereas confession heals the soul.

The meaning of the ending

Throughout the film, the viewer is in constant tension, waiting for the denouement. Fiction merges with reality so much that until the very end it remains unclear where the line that separates these two worlds lies.

In the final scene, Connor examines his mother’s drawings and is surprised to find a Monster among them, on whose shoulders little Lizzy is sitting. Apparently in the subconscious mind of a teenager surfaced stories told by his mother in childhood. But be that as it may, the image of the monster became a defense mechanism that manifested itself under stress and protected the child’s psyche.

Interesting! Actor Lewis Mac Dougall, who played the role of Connor, had his mother die shortly before filming. The young actor had to relive the loss of a loved one, reliably conveying the mental suffering of the hero.

In the film A Monster Calls, the meaning of the final is shocking with its deep philosophical meaning.

The main meaning that the authors of the film A Monster Calls put into the ending is to overcome the monster sitting in itself. Thanks to this, the hero, having gone through suffering, was able to cleanse himself and accept the inevitable – the death of his mother.

Like all films with meaning, A Monster Calls contains moral overtones. The picture calls to be attentive to yourself and your loved ones. Without understanding and support, sometimes it is simply impossible to survive. Therefore, do not be shy to ask for help and be sure to offer it to those who need it.

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