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  • Writer's pictureK/XI


I have been devastated by Hirokazu Kore-eda's work previously with Broker and Shoplifters. I expected nothing less from Monster, which has just been released in the UK. I was quite exhausted that day and pretty run down, so I wasn't particularly in the mood to be out at the movies, nonetheless, I went and ended up crying all the way home. Not even the discreet kind of crying. I was pretty devastated and extremely angry. The score was also composed by the legendary Ryuichi Sakamoto, so I don't need to say much more about the emotional impact of that alone.

I can't actually talk about the crux of the film because I feel like it's a huge spoiler. I went in thinking one thing about what the film might be about, and it ended up being much deeper and so much more devastating. I'm getting weepy as I write because my body immediately wants to reach out and protect. The performances in the film are brilliant and played to perfection.

The film is divided into three parts, each giving a different perspective to a collection of events. I'm not entirely convinced this method worked for me. It drew out the events and really made me feel the 2 hour+ runtime of the movie. What felt uncomfortable for me was how my thoughts about characters and events were being altered by each re-telling. Upon reflection, I think this is a great technique and will hopefully allow people to really take their time when it comes to believing certain ideas, especially when it involves the mental and physical health of someone. This brings me back to something I had experienced last summer as a teacher, when I found myself very quickly siding with one person's story, only to later discover that I had shut myself off to hearing the other side. That experience taught me a valuable lesson, which I saw echoed in this.

Films like Monster are such an essential part of cinema and education. I wish more people could be shown films like this in order to open up their eyes to things that they are quick to judge. I had a conversation with my brother just before the New Year in which he mentioned some concerns he had about what his children were watching and how certain things were being 'normalised'. I can only hope that any parent who could be blind to the things presented in the film, would feel the utmost sense of shame at not doing better.


People often talk about certain agendas being pushed and things being 'normalised' (my family for example). What they often forget is how the hetero-normative lifestyle is forced on to the majority of people, and forget the devastating impact it can have on a child/adult, constantly making them question themselves and feeling like they don't belong, or feeling like there's something wrong with them. Where's the accountability for that?


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