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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 22%
Just Average: 15%
Pretty Crappy: 3%
Sucks: 11%

5 reviews, 70 user ratings

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by Elaine Perrone

"Charlize's killer performance will blow you away!"
4 stars

Monster totally belongs to Charlize Theron, whose transformation from Beauty to Beast from the inside out is nothing short of astonishing.

In taking on the role of alcoholic prostitute-turned-serial killer Aileen "Lee" Wuornos, Theron, a former ballerina, buried her lithe dancer's body in an extra 30 pounds of flab, and it is obvious her resulting potbelly and cottage cheese thighs came nowhere near a personal trainer or a ballet barre for months. Likewise, her hair is coarse and lank, her skin mottled, and her mouth distorted by oversize prosthetic teeth, but those are only surface changes, as riveting as they are (sort of like a car accident you can't take your eyes off).

Theron's real accomplishment is in her absolute believability as the slatternly white trash drifter whose swaggering gait and brash demeanor mask her loathing for herself and almost everyone around her, whose foul mouth and belligerence shout it out to the world; the woman on the brink of suicide until she meets the soulmate (here given the fictitious name of Selby Wall) with whom she fleetingly finds hope for a new life before embarking on her murderous spree.

Unfortunately, Theron's performance of her career, and easily the best by anyone in 2003, is very nearly the only thing Monster has going for it. With the exception of the always-reliable Bruce Dern, who plays Lee's friend Thomas, and a heartbreaking cameo by Scott Wilson (In Cold Blood) as Wuornos' final victim, most of the acting is mediocre, with Christina Ricci a particularly wretched standout.

The script, written by Patty Jenkins, who also directed, is weak, as well -- and at odds with what is known about the real Wuornos, whose defense was that she killed her first victim to prevent a rape, an allegation she later recanted. Here, Jenkins has her fuguing into a psychotic break after a John brutally beats and sodomizes her, making her something of a victim whose history of being sexually abused sets her on the road to murder with less and less provocation until she finally shoots to death a good samaritan (Wilson) who stops to help her.

The real Wuornos, seen in Nick Broomfield's 1992 documentary, "Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer," as well as his recent "Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer," was a narcissistic, delusional, and manipulative woman, far crazier than Jenkins wrote her, who murdered simply because she enjoyed it. This is the woman, after all, whose final words before being executed by lethal injection in October 2002, were, "I'd just like to say I'm sailing with The Rock, and I'll be back, like Independence Day with Jesus, June 6, like the movie, big mothership and all. I'll be back."

Likewise, the real 'Selby Wall,' a disingenuous and equally manipulative woman, would have made a fascinating character in more capable hands than those of the woefully lacking Ricci, who played her more like an errant teenager out past curfew than as the duplicitous enabler who, in the end and in her own way, was as much a villain as Aileen.

At the bottom line, Monster is the kind of movie that has this particular Bitchslapper tearing out my hair for a rating. Other than Theron's bravura turn and the couple supporting performances to make it worth your time, the movie has little going for it and would be lucky to rate a "Pretty Bad." I'll give it the benefit of a "Worth a Look" but with the proviso that one look is probably all you will want.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8418&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/16/04 19:19:39
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User Comments

9/21/17 morris campbell disturbing well acted film 4 stars
3/23/12 Mabel Excellent film with a powerful lead performance. I highly recommend it (for adults only). 5 stars
9/11/11 Captain00Kirk Strong performances in a strong, gritty film. www.youtube.com/Captain00Kirk 5 stars
11/16/09 Stephanie Garcia very sad story. 4 stars
10/22/09 Rachel It was an alright movie, but I wouldn't watch it more than once. 3 stars
8/12/08 Shaun Wallner Well Made! 5 stars
4/25/08 beau ricci and theron were no doubt outstanding. made really well 4 stars
12/23/07 what is everyone's problem? Charlize deserved that oscar. it was as though she was another person in that fillm. 4 stars
12/14/07 Erika UNBELIEVABLY GREAT MOVIE! Charlize was AMAZING! 5 stars
1/29/07 David Pollastrini Normally Theron and Ricci would be hot 5 stars
1/08/07 Drew Galletti Besides Theron's ugly acting, there is nothing of note about this movie 1 stars
1/08/07 CJBlalock Scary what women are capable of if they're abused enough. 5 stars
6/14/06 Lisa Great acting. Fantastic make up. Fascinating story. 5 stars
4/11/06 RUDY GOOD STORY 4 stars
1/01/06 cody a great story but the flim didn't keep me interested through, but charlize gives great perf 3 stars
9/30/05 wil j. Ricci played it near perfectly 5 stars
9/09/05 Vince Very interesting performance by Theron. 4 stars
9/02/05 tatum Theron great, but Ricci's character is all wrong 4 stars
8/18/05 ES Theron acted just like Wuornos, but the story is terrible & she's a B blonde actor at best 1 stars
8/02/05 Sean Davis Charlize Theron brings female acting to a new level. Well deserved Oscar. 5 stars
7/06/05 Pinkline Jones Ricci just as outstanding 4 stars
7/02/05 Eddie Good story 4 stars
7/01/05 Indrid Cold Somewhat overrated, but still Theron is fascinating. 4 stars
3/22/05 clinger26 oh god no, oh jesus, jesus christ no.. ugh ugh 1 stars
2/15/05 Mikey This movie is so bad, don't spend your money on it 1 stars
2/05/05 xxplosive Waste of time and money, total crap. 1 stars
1/14/05 Jeff Anderson A great, great film. Charlize Theron deserved her Oscar for her absolute triumph of acting. 5 stars
12/23/04 Nick Boyd Charlize Theron gives an unforgetable performance 5 stars
10/12/04 TheOthersFan depressing 5 stars
10/12/04 Kyle I've no problem with Theron winning the Oscar for this performance. GREAT! 5 stars
7/24/04 lissa it was an awesome move!!! 5 stars
7/20/04 Steve Adams Charlize Theron rocks! 4 stars
7/20/04 April Gupton great performance, but wow was she hard to look at 4 stars
7/20/04 geno vezina reality can be a painful experience to watch and this film packs a wallop. 5 stars
7/17/04 Richard not so good 2 stars
7/17/04 Onyeabo Monago I think Charlize gave a spooky great performance! 4 stars
7/17/04 legend An amazing performance by Charlize Theron as a killer. 5 stars
7/08/04 Melissa McCord Not that good. A little too weird 2 stars
7/07/04 Denise good story but she got the award because she looked like crap 3 stars
6/28/04 Elena Amaro Good movie 5 stars
6/23/04 maryann excellent movie kept me watching deff 5 stars
6/21/04 silver10 this was hard to watch. i felt bad when she shot father time after he saw she had a gun. 4 stars
6/06/04 BooBoo Very Good. Theron deserved her Oscar 5 stars
5/30/04 Blakers a great film I loved it. 5 stars
4/10/04 Alan Liddle Over done 3 stars
3/29/04 Arlene Titshaw I wish charlize theron had her oscar, golden globe, etc all up her ass! 1 stars
3/28/04 Veronica It was one of the best movies I've ever seen. 5 stars
3/21/04 john bale Theron and Ricci brilliant as Thelma and Louise from Hell. Gritty and powerful stuff. 5 stars
3/19/04 Matthew Smith Theron is Outstanding in one of the year's best 5 stars
3/19/04 michelle charlize is so beautiful .. but nicole is going to be a better actress you guys! 5 stars
3/12/04 Cheryl Conway Think, Jenna! One can't eat out what one doesn't have! 1 stars
3/11/04 Jenna Furr CT sweeps Bst Actrss "awards" in ultimate ballbusting role. Eat yur heart out, Ashley Judd! 1 stars
2/27/04 Reini Urban Really an experience. Never saw anyone better than Theron, and I saw a lot. 5 stars
2/25/04 me awesome 5 stars
2/14/04 Maximus Stellar performance from Theron 5 stars
2/05/04 LIAM JACKSON Aileen's 'victims' were evil scum that tried to rape her.she is no monster, shes a hero! 5 stars
2/04/04 Charlize seems to overact, but perhaps the real Aileen was like that. Escargot 3 stars
2/04/04 Wendy Carpenter In spite of itself, reveals that Aileen Wuornos WAS a murderous monster, pure and simple. 2 stars
1/31/04 Bill Teommey Bok Choy nails it. Life dealt the murderer cards that made her ending inevitable. 5 stars
1/30/04 malcolm Theron was brilliant, but an average film overall, it's no 'Boys Don't Cry' 3 stars
1/27/04 Mucki It was alright, although it made me squirm in my seat 3 stars
1/23/04 ROY L. CAIN,JR. Strong performances from Ms. Theron & Ms. Ricci. Cheers! 5 stars
1/20/04 smartmusician Shows partially Aileen Wurro's life 3 stars
1/19/04 DHite Good. It's impressive when a movie can make a murderer look even slightly sypmathetic 4 stars
1/11/04 Lethal Injection was too good for Aileen Wuornos She should have been made to choke to death on her own shit! 1 stars
1/11/04 Collin Souter Thanks for the criticism, SOCS. Next time, please send an email. 3 stars
1/10/04 Shame on Collin Souter There ARE evil women! Time to call THEM "scumbags", not their victims! 1 stars
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  24-Dec-2003 (R)
  DVD: 25-Jan-2005



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