Monster: Mash and Oxymoron

Monster is both unique and familiar.

The novelty comes from a rather non-linear use of story telling, even though Saltburn (horrible film) waits until the final 15 to go back in time, Monster, directed by Hirokazu Koreeda (who also directed Shoplifters, one of my favorites of all time) restarts his story at midpoint.

The childhood bonds in the face of family dysfunction is a familiar trope used in The Florida Project for which I’m sure the screenwriter (Yuji Sakamoto) may have been influenced. Wish I could say more here, but I would ruin the film with specific similarities.

Another running idea is schools gone wild. I’ve never seen more unattended classrooms in my 30 years of teaching than I did in Monster which of course equals inmates running the asylum resulting in chaos.

The acting was expertly delivered. Everyone from the accused teacher Eita Nagayama to the mother, Sakura Ando to the children: Soya Kurokawa and Hinata Hiiragi have great chemistry, even though just tweeners.

Definitely a strong film, but is it my favorite International film this year? I’ve only seen four. Let’s set the competition:
Fallen Leaves, Past Lives, Anatomy of a Fall and Monster.
Hmmm, let me say first, I am very curious about Zone of Interest, Perfect Days and Taste of Things. Anyone of those films could sway me, but alas, the dang distribution problem.
Of the ones I have seen, as far as being moved Past Lives (and I hated it at first, but then reconciled big time).
Monster I consider neck and neck with Anatomy of a Fall, in fact the former wins by a nose. Fallen Leaves is merely beautifully cute and hopeful.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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