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Loft Cinema Film Fest Movie Review: Monster


Directed By: Hirokazu Kore-eda

Streaming Service: N/A

Release Date: Winter 2023

Rating: PG-13

Description: A story about a young boy and his struggles in middle school. He befriends another shy classmate only for their relationship to be embroiled by bullying, miscommunication, and a lack of intervention from adults. This story covers the evolution of their friendship.

Reviewer Name: Lamley Andrews

Date of Review: 10-16-23

This review is of one movie of the many movies being showcased at the Tucson Loft Cinema Film Fest which is going from October 11th to October 19th. If you would like to see these films for yourself (which I think you totally should) you can purchase tickets at: Everyone involved has worked really hard to put this event together, so your support is greatly appreciated.

If I had a nickel for every time a piece of Japanese media by the title of Monster permanently alter my brain chemistry, I would have two nickels – which is not a lot but its strange that it happened twice. Perhaps I will do a review for that second piece of media. That’s besides the point. It really breaks my heart the fact that I missed the first 20 minutes of this movie (because we got to focus on academics first) because this movie truly has metamorphosized my brain.

Monster, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, is a story that follows a boy named Minato. Following the loss of his father, he and his mother struggle to navigate life without him. Minato blends into the background of his school until he starts acting out. His mother suspects his teacher may have something to do with his sudden behavior change however, as the story progresses, it is suggested that another student may actually be responsible.

This first and second act of this movie was very difficult to watch. I felt like one of the characters within the story – just as confused and ignorant to all of the details of the situation plaguing Minato. This effect is deliberate. As the movie progresses, we switch between the perspectives of multiple characters and have the story retold within its full context. I thought this was done absolutely brilliantly because as more context is revealed, it really makes your heart ache for everyone involved. By the end I was struggling not to sob in the packed theater.

This movie is a perfect film for everyone. The subjects and situations are deeply relatable from navigating middle school bullies, finding one’s sense of identity, and the deep feelings of nostalgia for early childhood youth. I feel like it is the perfect movie for those who were or are still outcasts in the world. The ending is bittersweet yet hope inducing.

My only regret is not seeing this movie and reviewing it sooner because today was the last day to view it at The Loft (I'm sorry everyone. I really want you all to see this movie). However, the movie is set to release globally in the winter of this year. I cannot recommend this movie enough.

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