Monster (2003)

monster poster 2003 movie charlize theron christina ricci
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 8/10

A different type of a serial killer movie

Could be argued that it glamorizes Wuornos

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Monster

Studio:  DEJ Productions

Genre(s):  Drama/Romance

Release Date(s):  November 16, 2003 (AFI Film Fest)/January 9, 2004 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

monster aileen wuornos selby skating tyria moore chalize theron christina ricci

Life is perfect, nothing can go wrong!

Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron) has had a difficult life.  A victim of sexual abuse and turning to sex for money, Aileen finds herself homeless and prostituting when she meets a girl named Selby Wall (Christina Ricci).  Selby has come to Florida to get over her lesbian tendencies, but Aileen reignites them.  When Aileen lashes out during a rape and kills her rapist, Aileen finds a new means to make money…and keeping Selby happy and with her becomes her goal.

Written and directed by Patty Jenkins, Monster is a biopic picture of the serial killer Aileen Wuornos (1956-2002).  The movie was released to critical acclaim and won Charlize Theron the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Monster is one of those movies that reminds you that everyone has a story and killers are not born from a vacuum.  There is often much criticism for recognizing killers instead of the victims, but in understanding killers, it can help prevent and help people that are in danger.  While some of her killings could be argued to be justified, Wuornos’ path wasn’t the right one, but Monster does help you understand how she came to be there.

monster aileen wuornos rape richard mallory lee tergesen charlize theron

Crimes have reasons…right or wrong

The story is a romance and somewhat one sided in that.  Aileen truly loves Selby (who is a stand-in for Tyria Moore who was Aileen’s girlfriend), but for Selby, Aileen is more of an exciting escape.  Selby might not be the killer, but she comes off as the bad one…manipulative and pushing.  It is this weird dynamic that drives the story forward.

Charlize Theron is quite amazing in the film.  Not only did she put on the weight she needed, but the actress hailed for her looks (before this film), looked very much like Wuornos by not being afraid to go all the way with the character…she looks really rough.  Christina Ricci doesn’t come off as well partly because her character is rather annoying and spurs a lot of the events that cause the killing to continue.  The movie features appearances by Bruce Dern as Wuornos’ only friend, Kane Hodder (of Friday the 13th fame), and Scott Wilson from The Walking Dead among other character actors.

monster aileen wuornos shooting serial killer charlize theron

Dating is harder than she thought…

Jenkins also does a nice job with the look and style of the movie.  The movie is rather straight forward in its look but it has a weightiness to it with the storyline which darkens it.  This is a nice contrast to some of the locations like the amusement park or roller rink which are supposed to be fun and light.

Monster is a good film that despite the heavy material is watchable due to the performance of Theron.  While serial killer movies and biopic pictures might be a turn-off to some, the pushing of the romance changes the tone of the film and makes it more inclusive for viewers.  Monster might not vindicate Wuornos’ actions, but it also tries not to vilify her.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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