Monster: A Review of Three Points of View


Hirokazu Kore-eda’s modern take on the Rashomon formula is a tough but rewarding experience.

Hirokazu Kore-eda has shocked movie lovers everywhere with his humanistic yet heartbreaking films about family. His 2023 work, Monster, is about “friendship” and might be his most poignant yet. An award-winning screenplay about a 5th-grade boy allegedly mistreated at school and his single mother desperately trying to figure out what’s going on at school won the best screenplay award at Cannes (how could it not with the pig brain quote). 

Right from the start, any viewer would have the impression that the filmmaker hates his characters and puts them in miserable positions. The boy Minato lost his father, Yori is bullied in school, and his father is alive…but he’s an abusive alcoholic. Even the school principal lost his grandchild. Utter anguish that is understood with all three parts inspired by Japanese film legend Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon put the pieces together. 

The Mother

The first part is what the trailer and synopsis in most places led us to believe the movie is about, the kid abused in school and the mother’s fight for fairness at school. It is from the mother’s perspective. In this first act, the film shows us the difficulties of being a single mother and the bureaucracy in the school system. These are the themes touched up to that point, but these will not be the last. The hard-to-digest truths of our world are just getting started.  

The Teacher

In the second part, we see the story through the teacher’s eyes. We witness his perspective revolving around kids bullying Yori and his superiors at school, putting him in difficult positions. In Japan, it’s been reported that there is a high rate of work-related suicides. Maybe this is a known phenomenon in Japan, but it is also known that work sucks everywhere. Therefore, it is easy to identify with Hori, the teacher. Even though his intentions were good, he probably was too good to work in the school system. The problems with public schools as institutions are still a topic in the film. This time, it was from the “rookie’s” perspective. 

The Boy

The third act concentrates on the boy’s point of view. There are joyful scenes, allowing the audience to breathe and perhaps pick up a few tissues. You will need it cause it will crush you. We see the two kids develop a great friendship. Only to be misunderstood by the surrounding adults. 


They develop romantic feelings for each other. Yes, this is about growing up queer and how cruel adult bigotry can be. 

Property of Toho Co.

To summarize, this film is hard to watch. However, that’s why it’s one of the best movies from the past year. I’ve been bullied at school, harassed at work, seeing my girlfriend cry for reasons related to being a single mother. This film came from Japan and made me feel like I’m not the only one. It reminded me that it’s okay to speak on behalf of those victims of all the cruelties in this world. After all, we are all human, and we can learn not to be monsters. 

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