Adapted from the eponymous novel by Patrick Ness (also the script), a FEW MINUTES AFTER MIDNIGHT (A Monster Calls) tells the story of Conor O’malley (Lewis MacDougall), a young boy who must cope with the serious illness of his mother. You can guess pretty fast the goal, but Conor cannot accept the reality and the bad, be terrible that the situation causes in him. In the evening, a few minutes after midnight, he imagined the coming of a giant he will tell three stories, three nights during. The fourth night, Conor must tell his own story, and accept the truth.
After The Orphanage and The Impossible, Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona continues to observe the relationship between the child and the adult. A theme that connects his movies, in styles yet very different – the film is fantastic horror to The Orphanage, the disaster film for The Impossible and finally the fantasy drama for a FEW MINUTES AFTER MIDNIGHT. Thus, if Bayona does not reveal himself in director virtuoso, it is in his mastery of the narrative and its subject, that it is regarded as a talented filmmaker. A FEW MINUTES AFTER MIDNIGHT is the most telling example.
No need to go there by four paths, a FEW MINUTES AFTER MIDNIGHT is a pure emotion and beautiful. How not to be touched by this love and this bond between a mother and her son ? And the tragedy related to the disease that gangrene their relationship ? It will be recalled from Luigi Comencini with The Misunderstood had a sublime melodrama on the post – it was the mourning of a young boy following the sudden death of his mother. Here we find the same sentiments, except that the death is not there yet, but it is inevitable. And Conor (as the viewer) knows it. Not question to bring down the movie into something tearful. Bayona remaining especially modest in its treatment of the characters. Each well (d)writing, with a psychology perfectly reflected, which makes them all terribly human.
In Conor, we understand its include and how a form of guilt develops in him as the condition of his mother is difficult to live. He is, therefore, a first-level abandoned by the adult. A diagram reproduced with his father, who came to the see of the United States, where he lives with his new family. Although he refuses to welcome his son home, the father (Toby Kebbell) does not necessarily become unsympathetic. As the grand-mother (Sigourney Weaver), who behind his air authoritarian and cold, I admit it: simply distraught by the situation and also torn at the idea of losing his daughter.
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A FEW MINUTES AFTER MIDNIGHT avoids burdening the adult world by showing that their errors of judgment are human. Has the image of the mother (Felicity Jones) who is unable to admit to his son that the disease will prevail soon. His desire to protect it, by lying, it produces the opposite, a rejection from Conor, and the famous ill-being which experiences it – that is expressed by a desire to be punished. This adult is missing, also recalling a certain Guillermo del Toro (with The Neck of the devil and The Pan’s Labyrinth in particular), who had produced the first feature-length film Bayona, The Orphanage.
A shared sensibility that we find by the intervention of the fantastic into the real world and the mind of a child. The giant, a kind of immense tree which emerges from the earth, and his stories, allowing Conor to understand the reactions of those around him and his own emotions and thoughts that make them feel guilty. Although these sequences of animations that illustrate the tales of horror of the giant are of great visual beauty, one can only regret that they extend too much in the length. Bayona thus losing the rhythm of his film, only one real fault to it must admit.
But omitted this detail, a FEW MINUTES AFTER MIDNIGHT is a success at any point. A beauty as well in the image (such as the aesthetics of the giant) by the story. All the same, it is true that the latter prevails over the general completion. Indeed, Bayona remains sober with his camera, as if he was in withdrawal in order to give the story the freedom to express themselves alone. It would then be up to author Patrick Ness to receive such praise. However, the illustration that is Bayona of this story, in all simplicity and purity, makes the film work all the more appreciable. If only by his choice and his excellent management of the performers. Mainly the young Lewis MacDougall, beautiful revelation, as well as Felicity Jones , which confirms its status as an actress with great sensitivity – a sensitivity that is noticeable for example in the crazy (2011) Drake Doremus. The meeting of two performers in a sublime plan of the end, which brings the emotion to the highest, concludes a FEW MINUTES AFTER MIDNIGHT in a joyful sadness that amazes all with ease.
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