A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is bleak in tone and characters struggle against the odds. But in spite of this, many are shown to care about friends and family, and want to look after their community.
Positive Role Models
Coleman is brave, moral, and hard working. Other characters around him, such as Patsy, are more impulsive and prone to violent outbursts.
The cast is predominantly male and there is no ethnic diversity. More than one language spoken.
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Violence & Scariness
Scuffles, character threatened with gun. Shots fired. Character shot and killed. Another stabbed and killed. Bloody injury but no gore. Throats are shown slit. Punches and kicks thrown in fights. Dead bodies shown. Reference to murder in protest songs. Character smothered and suffocated. Strangulation. Character slapped across face.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters seen shirtless.
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Language used includes "s--t," "bastard," and "arse." Some racially charged language.
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Products & Purchases
Disparity between the lives of poor Irish communities and the wealth enjoyed by their English landlord. Rich characters care more about money than others' well-being.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol socially. Some discussion of alcoholism. Wealthy characters smoke cigars.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Monster (aka Arracht) is an Irish drama set in the 1840s with infrequent but bloody violence. The dialogue is mainly Irish Gaelic, with some scenes in English. The story follows the struggle of a small coastal community, in particular Coleman (Donall O Healai), a fisherman who increasingly struggles to care for those around him. Coleman sets a good example throughout. His endurance and courage give the movie its main positive role model and positive message in a film lacking with both. The violence is bloody and fatal in some cases, with characters shot and stabbed. One character is suffocated to death. Swearing is occasional, but there are some uses of "s--t" and "bastard." There are disputes about money driven by greed, and rich characters are shown living in luxurious surroundings compared to the poverty and hardship of the main characters. Drinking and smoking both feature occasionally, in moderation by adults in social settings. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A slight story kept afloat by its performances, this Irish drama does its best to summon the power of the elements to show us how cruel both nature and people can be. Monster (originally titled Arracht) touches upon a bleak period in Irish history. The film starts with the British implementing a sharp increase to the land rates, leading to harsh times for Donall O Healai's Coleman, an even-handed but strong-willed fisherman. Complicating matters is the ensuing potato famine and Dara Devaney's short-tempered Patsy, whose refusal to be humiliated by colonial forces creates more tension.
After an eventful setup the movie settles into a more subdued mood, with Coleman's isolation limiting the story. His eventual double-act with the tempestuous young Kitty (Saise Ni Chuinn) also feels familiar, causing the plot to lag while we wait for the inevitable to catch up with Coleman, his family, and friends. Despite its pacing and plotting dragging at times, Monster does a good job of capturing both the expanse and the smallness of its characters' world. It might lack the dramatic punch of Hunger, which captures another fraught period in Irish history, but writer-director Tom Sullivan excels at treating his audience and his characters with respect.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.