Monster: Hirokazu (“Shoplifters”) Kore-eda’a Episodic Tale of Bullying (Cannes Film Fest 2023, Mediocre Films)

Monster’ (Hirokazu Kore-eda)

Grade: B

Two boys with dirty faces look at the camera.
(Cannes Film Festival)

 

But after last year’s flat-footed Korean-set drama Broker, Monster certainly represents an improvement, if not a complete return to form.

Its story, set in and around a school where bullying runs rampant, unfolds in three chapters.

They are told from three different perspectives: a worried mom, a maligned teacher and a troubled kid.

The episodic structure is cumbersome and less revelatory than expected, but in its third and most liberated act, the movie finally arrives at its best, displaying the Kore-eda moment of grace.

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