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Monster (2003)

Cast: Charlize Theron, Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, more...
Director: Patty Jenkins
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Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Drama, Biopics, Crime
Running Time: 109 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish
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Model-turned-actress Charlize Theron leaves her glamorous image behind for this gritty drama, in which she plays a disturbed prostitute who becomes a serial killer. Aileen Wuornos (Theron) was a woman who survived a brutal and abusive childhood in Michigan to become a thick-skinned but emotionally damaged adult. Homeless most of her life, Wuornos subsisted by working as a street prostitute; later, when she was in Florida, down to her last five dollars and pondering suicide, she stopped into a bar for a beer. There, Aileen met Selby Wall (Christina Ricci), a woman in her early twenties who had been sent to live with relatives after her Christian parents became aware of her lesbian lifestyle. Selby is immediately attracted to Aileen, and while Aileen tells Selby she's never been in a lesbian relationship, she soon finds herself equally infatuated with her. Selby runs away from her family and moves into a cheap hotel with Aileen, who initially pays the bills by hooking. However, as their money runs low and Aileen finds herself unable to land a regular job, tensions mount between the two. One night, after a john attacks her, Aileen pulls a gun and kills the man. Although her first murder can be categorized as self-defense, Aileen's loathing for the men who pay her for sex becomes so extreme that she begins killing her customers regardless of their behavior. Meanwhile, Selby slowly becomes aware of the full extent of her lover's instability and the bloody consequences of her actions. Monster was inspired by the true story of Aileen Wuornos, whose life and death was chronicled in two documentaries by filmmaker Nick Broomfield, Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, and Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

"If ever there was a movie about vampiric killer lesbians and stealthy, untrustworthy homosexuals who form secret pagan bonds yet who never forget how to slide, unnoticed, back into the suburban fold, Monster is it," argues editor Mark Adnum. So why, after protesting Cruising, The Silence of the Lambs and Basic Instinct, are gay and lesbian media and activists giving this one a pass? Full article >>

GreenCine Member Reviews

amazing women by alexjb February 15, 2005 - 1:15 AM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
so charlize gets lots of kudos for her work in this one, and well deserved. she plays a complex and hard-to-sympathize with character and her immersion in the role is complete. you can see that she's a terribly lost soul whose moral compass has been completely destroyed, and she's trying to hold on to a scrap of love by whatever means necessary.

but how 'bout some credit for the director Patty Jenkins, and Christina Ricci as supporting actress?! between the three of them, they created a story that allows the viewer amazing insight into what could (and did) nudge someone over the edge.

ricci channels a confused, lovestruck young lesbian who woos theron and ends up barrelling down a dangerous road, way out of her league. she flipflops in a way that i found genuine for someone her age in such extreme circumstances. overall, they did a great job of making these characters real, and not some bizarre stereotype, either of lesbians or white trash or serial killers.

the DVD extras are a definite plus, especially if (like me) you don't know the back-story of the real-life killer that theron portrays.

Best Actress was deserved by WZoller June 7, 2004 - 2:00 PM PDT
1 out of 4 members found this review helpful
I can see why Charlize Theron received the best actress award for this performance. The movie itself was just so-so. Ricci's performance lacked substance. The additional info about the musical score was very interesting.

More than merely a "monster" by talltale June 2, 2004 - 4:59 PM PDT
9 out of 10 members found this review helpful
Charlize Theron absolutely deserves her Best Actress award for MONSTER. But what makes this movie so unsettling is that--after decades of seeing serial killers as freaks and monsters in movies and TV (especially the endless drivel served up on "Court TV")--here, finally, is a film that offers a serial killer as a fully-rounded and real person. And that makes watching this movie a supremely disturbing experience. Aileen is no "victim," that's for sure, but she's more than a monster. In that "more" resides virtually everything. Christina Ricci is wonderful, too--as always. The writer and director could have done a better job at times, but what's here is plenty good enough to merit a viewing.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.09)
289 Votes
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