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Monster (Netflix)

Affecting, though uneven, drama in which a Harlem teen (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) stands accused of participating in the robbery of a bodega that resulted in the shooting death of its owner.

Despite the best efforts of his overworked public defender (Jennifer Ehle) and the support of his caring parents (Jennifer Hudson and Jeffrey Wright), the legal system — Paul Ben-Victor plays the prosecuting attorney — seems stacked against him. Director Anthony Mandler's screen version of Walter Dean Myers' 1999 young adult novel sometimes feels stagey and at other times static. But viewers will likely be engrossed by the protagonist's plight and the film gains credibility by its avoidance of pat answers.

Watch out for: Brief violence, gory images, mature themes, drug use, at least one instance of profanity, a milder oath, frequent rough and much crude language. 
Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: R

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021