A Monster Calls (PG-13)
Liam Neeson -- who voices the tree -- intones lines like "Many things that are true feel like a cheat." He speaks thus to Conor (Lewis MacDougall), a friendless Irish schoolboy whose mother (Felicity Jones) is dying. You parents may be terrified, but older children will be fine. They might also relish the stark, restless watercolor renderings of a trio of fairy tales that giant tells young Conor. The tales are prickly and mean, like unexpurgated Grimms. Conor quails: What is the lesson in them?
Meanwhile, he's bullied at school and can't get along with the grandmother he's packed off to live with. Her home is full of rooms kids mustn't play in, but she's played by Sigourney Weaver, so you know she'll be a person rather than a caricature.
It's when Conor gives in to the giant's destructive impulses in real life that A Monster Calls is at its most thrilling and dangerous. Has any kids movie since the original Willy Wonka so persuasively demonstrated the terribleness of acting out the fantasies kids' movies endorse?