When her young son Minato starts to behave strangely, his mother feels that there is something wrong. Discovering that a teacher is responsible, she storms into the school demanding to know what's going on. But as the story unfolds through the eyes of mother, teacher and child, the truth gradually emerges.
Cambridge Film Festival 2023: Film #4
Definitely my favourite Hirokazu Kore-eda film so far. Despite the curious "this is not a horror film!" announcement by the organisers of the festival, the first perspective of this Rashomon unsettles eerily like a horror film; arguably more effectively, in fact, given that the narrative is based almost entirely on decidedly non-paranormal events. In the end though, the revelations unfold like a knife twisting in your gut.
Characters yo-yo from angel to scum of the earth to victim in intricate, often-breathtaking narrative beats––the kind that fill the gaps so perfectly they come with the same rush of dopamine that hits when you slot in the missing piece of a puzzle. It’s a roller coaster of vehemence on all sides, a web of story and person that twists the viewer into an emotional knot.
— Luke Hicks (The Film Stage)
You can feel the push and pull between a master technician who built his career on the patient, delicate plucking at our heartstrings and his newfound desire to please a wide audience with the broadest of affective strokes. In a cubistic way, Monster’s structure gradually reveals the truths behind oblique character actions as it folds back in on itself to retell the same events from another character’s perspective.
— Kyle Turner (Slant Magazine)