Exploring Humanity Through Three Lenses: 'Monster' Unveils Emotional Depths in Kore-eda's Signature Style


Written by Yuji Sakamoto, winner of last year's Cannes Film Festival Best Script award, Hirokazu Kore-eda's latest film, "Monster," stays true to the director's signature style of presenting life's bitterness in the simplest manner possible. Unlike bombastic titles, the film gently guides viewers through seemingly ordinary events, ultimately delivering surprising revelations.

The narrative, skillfully divided through three perspectives, unfolds through the eyes of Saori Mugino (Sakura Ando), a mother discovering her son Minato's (Soya Kurokawa) unusual behavior. The film begins with a thought-provoking question from Minato about the essence of humanity, leading to a series of events that unravel the emotional turmoil within the characters.

As Saori delves into her son's life, she discovers the disturbing truth of his mistreatment by his teacher, Mr. Hori (Eita Nagayama). Saori confronts the school, seeking accountability for the emotional toll on her son.

Yuji Sakamoto's poignant storytelling, utilizing three distinct perspectives (mother, teacher, and child), immerses the audience in a profoundly moving tale. Despite being Kore-eda's first film without him as the scriptwriter since his debut in "Maborosi," "Monster" resonates with his signature touches – simple scenes with underlying emotional depth.

Without delving into spoilers, the film challenges viewers to reflect on their sensitivity to human situations. As the story unfolds, Kore-eda skillfully tests the audience's perceptiveness, transforming the initial scenes into something entirely different by the film's conclusion.

In the context of cancel culture, the decision to tell the story from three perspectives feels crucial and remarkably unpretentious. The narrative intricacies become vital puzzle pieces, emphasizing the dangers of passing judgment without understanding the complete picture.

Yuji Sakamoto's brilliant script is brought to life by Kore-eda's adept emotional exploitation. The director showcases his mastery in directing actors, particularly the child performers Soya Kurokawa and Hinata Hiiragi as Yori, delivering remarkable performances. Sakura Ando and Eita Nagayama also contribute commendable portrayals.

The film's cinematography, resembling a dreamlike collage, coupled with a meticulously crafted pace and Ryuichi Sakamoto's emotionally resonant musical score, solidify "Monster" as an unforgettable cinematic experience. If there's one film to watch to kick off the year, "Monster" is the answer. Prepare tissues and brace yourself for an emotional rollercoaster.

"Monster" is currently screening in CGV, Cinepolis, Flix, and various other cinemas.

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