Monster (2023)

Monster (2023)

PG-13

Remarkably sensitive and well-told, this twisty Japanese drama unveils layers upon layers of different truths

The Very Best

9.4

Movie

Japan
Japanese
Drama, Thriller
2023
HIROKAZU KORE-EDA
Akihiro Kakuta, Ayu Kitaura, Daisuke Kuroda
125 min

TLDR

Vantage Point for people who keep a Letterboxd account.

What it's about

When her son starts acting strange, Saori demands accountability from a teacher she believes wronged him. But when we see things unfold from multiple perspectives, the bigger picture finally emerges.

The take

Monster is a deceptively simple story about growing up and the many misunderstandings that come with it. It’s told through different points of view, a technique that could easily feel gimmicky in the hands of a lesser director. But with director Hirokazu Kore-eda at the helm, it feels natural and inevitable, as if there was no other way to tell this specific story. It’s a masterful mystery, but Monster is less about suspense and answering the whodunnit question than it is about navigating the murky waters of truth and real life. As corny as it sounds, watching Monster is an experience unto itself: you’ll find yourself believing something one moment and dismantling it the next, learning and unlearning in a span of two hours. But as with past Kore-eda films, it’s the story’s heartwarming sensitivity that trumps everything. You’ll likely come for the mystery but stay for its heart.

What stands out

The delicate performances by the two young actors, Soya Kurokawa and Hinata Hiiragi.

Comments

Brilliant movie. Stays with you long after.

This film broke me. Good recommendation.

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