Love and Monsters follows a determined Joel (Dylan O’Brien) on his quest to get his girl back after seven long years; all he has to do is walk over 80 miles through an immensely dangerous mixture of monsters. What could go wrong?

Dylan O'Brien as Joel in Love and Monsters / Picture Credit: 21 Entertainment

Dylan O'Brien as Joel in Love and Monsters / Picture Credit: 21 Entertainment

The synopsis

After spending the last seven years underground, along with the rest of the human race, Joel only wishes to see his high school girlfriend, Aimee (Jessica Henwick) again.

Joel reconnects with his long-lost-love again over the radio, and after chatting with her for a week or two, he makes the choice to head to the surface and find her. The other members of his colony aren’t so sure, as his only uses seem to be making soup, and he freezes every single time he sees one of the mutated creatures.

Nevertheless, Joel makes the journey across dangerous territory in order to see Aimee again. Along the way he meets perhaps the best companion in the form of a dog called Boy, wise old man Clyde (Michael Rooker) and his young friend Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt); all of which teach him lessons that aid his adventure.

So, what did I think?

I absolutely loved this film. O’Brien does an exceptional job with his role as Joel; the scared and heartbroken character is a joy to watch as his narration (in the form of love letters written to Aimee) gives you a true insight to who he really is.

There are a few standout scenes in this film, one of which is when Joel meets Boy, a lonely dog whose owners have passed away. The dog saves Joel’s life from an overgrown frog (it’s creepier than it sounds) and brings him to the bus he lives in, which is filled with trinkets presumably belonging to his late owners.

Joel and Boy / Picture Credit: 21 Entertainment
Joel and Boy / Picture Credit: 21 Entertainment

Our main character begins to talk to the dog and ask him questions about his owners and why he’s all alone. This scene stood out because it showed how separated from everything they both were, and the solitude felt by the two of them brought a couple of tears to my eye.

While the plot was simple enough, the things that Joel sees, learns and feels are all so potent, and that is what makes this film so wonderful. The lessons that Clyde and headstrong Minnow teach him of course come into use later on, and Joel’s drive and ambition to do what everyone said he couldn’t do it so wonderfully clear.

Joel and Minnow / Picture Credit: 21 Entertainment
Joel and Minnow / Picture Credit: 21 Entertainment

O’Brien nailed this role; his emotions, whether delighted or melancholic, were exceptional. You feel such joy when he starts to conquer his fears; and speaking of fears, the many monsters and creatures shown were genuinely rather scary (which may be more due to me being deathly afraid of insects).

This film really pulls at your heartstrings, something I didn’t expect, as I was anticipating a more comedic theme. But the human nature of a guy wanting to travel so far and put himself in such danger worked so well; and everything he has learned on his journey makes it worthwhile, especially when he tells his old colony about it.

Love and Monsters is available to watch on Netflix now!

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

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