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In the wake of Steven Spielberg’s take on Roald Dahl’s classic The BFG – the film that cost $140 million to make and then spectacularly and unexpectedly bombed at the box office – we must wonder what this says about the fantasy genre. And what will it mean for the release of A Monster Calls, accredited director Juan Antonio Bayona’s adaptation of Patrick Ness’ book when it hits cinemas on October 20?

The trailer for the film just released and visually spectacular are the first words that come to mind, second only to “heartbreaking”. Each night 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall) suffers nightmares because his mum (Felicity Jones) is terminally sick and he dreads going to school for fear of the bullies who tease him. One night though, a big creature – a monster if you will, (voiced by Liam Neeson) – is uprooted from the graveyard behind his house and takes him on a fantastical journey, encouraging him to let out all of his anger and fight on. There is a deeper message in it too; In this land, the heroes are naughty and the villains innocent, the bad aren’t punished and the good not saved which poses questions in Conor’s world – why is life so complicated?

Academy Award nominee Jones (The Theory Of Everything, The Amazing Spiderman 2, Girls) will break your heart as “Mum”. And we think she and MacDougall’s dynamic relationship – of the same unbreakable bond as Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay in Room – might just buck the Spielberg-set 2016 fantasy-genre curse.

A Monster Calls is in Australian cinemas October 20.