Conor is dealing with far more than other boys his age. His mother is ill. He has little in common with his imperious grandmother and his father has resettled thousands of miles away. But Conor finds a most unlikely ally when the Monster appears at his bedroom window one night. Ancient, wild and relentless, the Monster guides Conor on a journey of courage, faith, and truth that powerfully fuses imagination and reality.

A monster calls focuses on 12-year-old Conor, who is struggling to cope with the fear that he will soon lose his mother (Felicity Jones) to cancer. The film embraces a world where there are no easy answers and no clear-cut heroes and villains. It’s a daringly complex but truthful story about the unfairness of life. Although it appears to be a film aimed at a younger audience, there’s much for the older viewer - it finds beauty in grief and relief in acceptance.

The clip for this session focuses on Conor as he hears the first of three stories from the Monster. The story is a fable about a prince who longs to be king and his battle to overthrow a seemingly evil step-grandmother, who has stolen the throne. After showing the clip, break into small groups and discuss the following questions:

  • Did the end of the story surprise you? What were you expecting to happen?
  • How are stories useful in helping us understand our own journeys and emotions?
  • What do you think is the moral of the story?
  • Do you agree with the conclusion that there are: “Not always good guys or always a bad one - they are often in between”?

Come back together and read Matthew 20:1-16. (It would be beneficial to explore the context of the passage first, and if you have more time, to explore parables and why Jesus taught using them.) After reading the passage, return to your smaller discussion groups to explore the following questions:

  • Are the actions of the landowner unfair?
  • What do you think is the intention and meaning of this parable?
  • What is the difference between fairness and judgement?
  • If everyone is rewarded the same, why should we work harder than others? How might this apply to a Christian lifestyle?

If you’ve got the time, watch the whole of A monster calls to enjoy the selected clip in context.