AMC Artisan Film | MONSTER
There are at least two sides to every story. One person’s experience or understanding of a certain topic or event can be almost entirely different from the other party (or parties) and the inevitable disputes it leads to can be potentially dangerous to everyone involved and even create consequences on a wider scale. The uncompromising power of perspective is explored in the film MONSTER, but that is only one theme to consider.
Not to be confused with an Academy Award®-winning serial killer biopic from 2003, this Japanese-language drama – which is now playing in AMC Theatres – was a hit at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, where it first premiered. It was also honored with the special Queer Palm prize and earned writer Sakamoto Yūji the award for Best Screenplay, among other accolades. Before you purchase your own tickets, see why MONSTER is recognized as an AMC Artisan Film and has captivated critics and audiences with its unique, thought-provoking, and highly relevant story in our guide below.
A Mysterious Coming-Of-Age Thriller
The inciting incident of the twisted events that take place in MONSTER is what appears to be a fight between an elementary school student named Mugino Minato and his classmate, Hoshikawa Yori. The boys’ homeroom teacher, Hori Michitoshi, steps in to put an end to the violence, but in the process of pulling Minato away from Yori, accidentally gives the boy a bloody nose. This leads Minato’s mother, Saori – who has already been concerned over her son’s behavior – to confront the issue to the school board under the belief that the teacher was abusing her son.
As a public uproar and media frenzy begins to break out over the conflict, Saori becomes increasingly worried about her son’s safety, while Michitoshi begins to fear for his career in education. Everything changes, however, when both Minato and Yori suddenly disappear, having gone off on their own together, which contradicts the initial belief that they were enemies. The surprises do not stop there in this drama that critics have hailed as a deeply emotional and human story full of twists and turns.
Starring Ando Sakura
Leading the MONSTER cast as Mugino Saori is Ando Sakura, who is also known for a different kind of monster movie from 2023 – GODZILLA MINUS ONE. Nagayama Eita – best known for his award-winning performance in 2009’s DEAR DOCTOR – plays Hori Michitoshi. Kurokawa Sōya is making his feature-film debut here as Minato, as is Hiiragi Hinata, who plays Yori.
Takahata Mitsuki – who provided the Japanese dub for Margot Robbie’s title character in 2023’s BARBIE – also stars as Michitoshi’s lover, Suzumura Hirona, and Nakamura Shidō of LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA fame plays Yori’s father, Hoshikawa Kiyotaka. Fushimi Makiko, the principal of Minato and Yori’s school, is played by Tanaka Yūko, who has lent her voice to Studio Ghibli movies like PRINCESS MONONOKE and TALES FROM EARTHSEA.
Hirokazu Kore-eda Directs
MONSTER is the first film to be directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda that he did not write himself since he made his feature-length fiction debut with MABOROSI in 1995. He followed that up in 1998 with another acclaimed drama called AFTER LIFE before coming out with DISTANCE in 2001.
One of the filmmaker’s more recent and most celebrated works is 2018’s SHOPLIFTERS – in which a family turns to crime to combat poverty – which won that year’s Palme d’Or and was nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. Soon after, he expanded his cultural influence beyond his home country to write and helm a French film in 2019 called THE TRUTH and, three years later, a South Korean drama called BROKER, which featured PARASITE star Kang-ho Song.
Watch The Trailer
If watching MONSTER is anything like watching its official trailer, it’s going to be a riveting experience. The small clues that the promo provides in regards to the truth behind Manito and Yori’s supposed conflict and, later, combined escape from home paints an instantly intriguing portrait of this story’s unique approach to highly relevant topics. See for yourself by watching the clip below:
The teaser gets the tension going immediately by showing the bloody aftermath of Hori Michitoshi intervening with Minato and Yori’s fight and the vigor that Saori shows when confronting the issue in defense of her son, refusing to accept that he is anything other than a victim. The real heart-stopping turning point, however, is when Minato – after his mother threatens to take him out of school – leaps out of their moving van, presumably to begin his journey away from home with Yori. By the end of the trailer, we are left with the haunting question of which character the film’s title is referring to.
See if you can uncover the mysteries and thought-provoking messages surrounding MONSTER by seeing it at an AMC Theatres location near you!
AMC Artisan Film | MONSTER