Monster (2023) – Movie Review/Summary

“Monster,” as it shifts perspectives from one character to the next, pushes you to ask who the real monster of this story is.


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)

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Movie Poster - Monster

Film Summary

Everything came to a head in April. There was this notable fire, and following that, there were news reports of a teacher calling a child a pig brain and the admittance of him physically harming the kid. But is that the truth?

Was the kid bullied, maybe their friend? Were the kids shamed into corroborating a story that the teacher was a bully? What about the administration? They seemed ready to protect the teacher and dance around admittance of guilt.

No one seems willing to admit or put real work into learning the truth, and that means rumors and assumptions have a good chance of ruining multiple lives. Be it people losing their jobs, going to prison, or maybe even committing suicide.

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member.

Saori

Saori is a single mom, via the death of her husband, who works at a local dry cleaner to help support herself and her son, Minato.

Hori

Mr. Hori is a young teacher with the hobby of sending publishers their editing mistakes, who takes up time with a local hostess.

Minato

Minato is a 5th grader who struggles with being pulled into his class wanting to bully Yori, who is eccentric, uninhibited, and happy despite how things are at home and school.

Yori

Yori’s life is one where his father is raising him and admonishes him for not being more masculine, and he is bullied at school for the same thing. But, between the girls and Minato, he finds some acceptance and has found an escape in an old train car in the mountains.

Fushimi

Yuko Tanaka as Fushimi
“Yuko Tanaka as Fushimi,” Monster, directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2023, (Well Go USA Entertainment)

Principal Fushimi has only recently returned after the tragic and scandalous loss of their grandchild, and you can tell returning, and the first thing she has to do is manage the accusation that Mr. Hori has been harassing Minato is stressful.

Review


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)


Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Highlights

Understanding The Power Of Perspective

Sakura Ando as Saori
“Sakura Ando as Saori,” Monster, directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2023, (Well Go USA Entertainment)

There are multiple perspectives at play when it comes to “Monster.” There is a worried mother, a kid dealing with peer pressure and what people are saying about him and his friend, and a principal dealing with a personal scandal and trying to avoid a professional one. Each party seeks to control the narrative and force an agreed-upon truth, even if their version of the truth isn’t what happened.

Yet, it is made clear as things unravel that the impediment of joy is living with a secret, and secrets are born from believing you have something to be ashamed about. So, as you watch Mr. Hori fight for his reputation, Minato combat the rumors while trying to experience bits of joy in his life via Yori, and his mother Saori just tries to be a good parent despite having to do the job alone? This is made hard by a principal who has only recently returned and originally refuses to fully own the worst and rather try to placate?

It makes you learning the truth pleasing while frustrating to know, likely more often than you are aware, how much the truth is snuffed out for what is comfortable and convenient and allows certain people to remain in power or to obtain it.

On The Fence

If You Like Resolutions Instead Of An Ellipsis, You May Not Enjoy How This Ends

Hinata Hiragi as Yori and Soya Kurokawa as Minato
“Hinata Hiragi as Yori and Soya Kurokawa as Minato,” Monster, directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2023, (Well Go USA Entertainment)

Despite the journey “Monster” takes you on, which calls for an epilogue of some kind, you don’t get that. These life-changing reveals and incidents come about, but what you get is real life. As an audience member, you are treated as a voyeur who is shut out in the end and left only with hope that things may get better, with no promise to you that it will.

Which isn’t to say this is a downtrodden, only the worst will be depicted, type of movie. But considering the lead up to how the film ends, to just leave the audience questioning what could come next might be frustrating. Especially if you are the type who believes stories should have a definitive ending.

Who Is This For?

Those who love dramas that bounce from different perspectives and who like watching stories in which the lives of children, and their interactions, are the focal point.

General Information

Director(s)

Kore-eda Hirokazu

Screenplay By

Yûji Sakamoto

Based On Work By

N/A

Date Released

November 22, 2023

How To Watch

In Theaters

Genre(s)

Drama

Youth

LGBT+

Non-English (Japanese)

Film Length

2 Hour 6 Minutes

Content Rating

Rated PG-13

Noted Characters and Cast

Fushimi

Yûko Tanaka

Yori

Hinata Hiiragi

Minato

Soya Kurokawa

Mr. Hori

Eita Nagayama

Saori

Sakura Ando

Content Rating Explanation

  • Dialog: No notable cursing
  • Violence: Bullying, fights, and an adult hitting a child
  • Sexual Content: None
  • Miscellaneous: Smoking, suicide idealization, homophobia

Recommendations

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Discussion Items

Let us know your thoughts in the comments:

  1. How do you feel about movies or shows which don’t tie up the ending with a neat bow or give an epilogue? Do you like believing the lead’s life goes on after you stopped watching, or do you prefer the idea that things start and stop based on your viewing?

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Monster (2023) – Movie Review

Summary

“Monster” is a wonderful reminder of how the secrets of children, objectives of adults, and parents’ fears swirl together in society and create most of the shame, guilt, and issues that have become so common they have been normalized.

Overall
79%
79%
  • If You Like Resolutions Instead Of An Ellipsis, You May Not Enjoy How This Ends - 74%
    74%
  • Understanding The Power Of Perspective - 83%
    83%

Highlight(s)

Understanding The Power Of Perspective

Disputable

If You Like Resolutions Instead Of An Ellipsis, You May Not Enjoy How This Ends


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