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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 22.77%
Average: 14.85%
Pretty Bad: 2.97%
Total Crap: 10.89%

5 reviews, 71 user ratings

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by Katharine Leis

"Finally, a film described as a masterpiece actually deserves the title."
5 stars

Rarely does a movie come along that makes me think. I mean really think. I became so immersed in thought that I missed my exit on the freeway by almost twenty miles before realizing where I was. Monster did that.

It is a very difficult movie to review. Not because I bumped my head and am confused, but because I was so removed from my seat in the theater and taken in by it that I hardly remember specific points to highlight. There was not one slow moment, not one point when I realized or remembered that “this is Christina Ricci, this is Charlize Theron and they are acting.”

Every scene and every line of dialogue was one hundred percent believable. This is not only a testament to the talent of the actors, but to the incredible writing and directing talent of Patty Jenkins.

Before the movie, all I heard was that Theron and Ricci play lesbians and have a love scene, that Theron gained thirty pounds for the role and had make up to make her look ugly. I had heard that it was a movie written and directed by a woman that told the story of Aileen Wuornos, serial killer, through a sympathetic eye. From those descriptions, it was not a movie I felt I “had” to go see. I’ve flipped past Lifetime and the Women’s Network too many times and thought I’d be seeing one of those movies but without Meredith Baxter or Melissa Gilbert.

Boy, was I wrong.

Monster does not seek to bring a sympathetic eye to Wuornos, nor does it try to demonize her victims. It shows that she was a serial killer, but not in the “traditional” sense of what the word has come to mean, if there is such a thing. When I hear “serial killer,” I think of the people who kill out of a perverse sense of power and for sexual gratification, then keep the victims in their basements. By that definition, Wuornos was no serial killer, but instead someone who killed several people.

What was most striking to me was that director Patty Jenkins displayed an incredible, almost unimaginable amount of tact. If told some of the descriptions of the events that happened in some scenes beforehand, I would have thought the movie to be offensive and definitely not something I would ever go see. For that, I have to thank the critics for paying so much attention to Theron’s enlarged behind and not giving anything away. I am not sure that even the most experienced and talented directors could have handled some of the scenes that Jenkins conquered flawlessly. Some of the material was extremely disturbing and somehow Jenkins managed to show just enough without even once exploiting the “gross out” factor as do so many in an attempt to shock the audience.

Jenkins name is missing from award ballots. I think unfortunately, she has too much talent. Like watching the Olympics, the really talented ones are the ones who make it seem so easy. Without her brilliance, this movie could have become many things, but I do not think it possible that anyone could have come close to capturing the feelings or telling the story as well as she did. After seeing the movie, I heard someone ask Jenkins, “What’s next?” I was almost insulted when I heard that. There are many talented directors who could work their entire lives with unlimited budgets and the best talent Hollywood has to offer and never come up with a film like Monster. Jenkins is young, and will most likely direct many more movies in her career. Even if she never directs another film, she most definitely deserves a lifetime achievement award for Monster.

The only way to knock this film is to write a review on another film. Jenkins’ seamless portrayal of the story of Aileen Wuornos was a feat no one else could have achieved. Without the aid of CGI or actors with a $20 million price tag, Jenkins was able to create one of the most profound films ever to be put on the screen.

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originally posted: 01/29/04 10:58:02
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User Comments

7/13/20 Louise (the real one) A compelling watch. Theron is terrific. 4 stars
9/22/17 morris campbell disturbing well acted film 4 stars
3/24/12 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. 5 stars
11/17/09 Stephanie Garcia very sad story. 4 stars
10/23/09 Rachel It was an alright movie, but I wouldn't watch it more than once. 3 stars
8/13/08 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
12/15/07 Erika UNBELIEVABLY GREAT MOVIE! Charlize was AMAZING! 5 stars
1/30/07 David Pollastrini Normally Theron and Ricci would be hot 5 stars
1/09/07 Drew Galletti Besides Theron's ugly acting, there is nothing of note about this movie 1 stars
1/09/07 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
1/02/06 cody a great story but the flim didn't keep me interested through, but charlize gives great perf 3 stars
10/01/05 wil j. Ricci played it near perfectly 5 stars
9/09/05 Vince Very interesting performance by Theron. 4 stars
9/03/05 tatum Theron great, but Ricci's character is all wrong 4 stars
8/19/05 ES Theron acted just like Wuornos, but the story is terrible & she's a B blonde actor at best 1 stars
8/03/05 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
7/03/05 Eddie Good story 4 stars
7/02/05 Indrid Cold Somewhat overrated, but still Theron is fascinating. 4 stars
3/23/05 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
1/15/05 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
10/13/04 TheOthersFan depressing 5 stars
10/13/04 Kyle I've no problem with Theron winning the Oscar for this performance. GREAT! 5 stars
7/25/04 lissa it was an awesome move!!! 5 stars
7/21/04 Steve Adams Charlize Theron rocks! 4 stars
7/21/04 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
7/18/04 Richard not so good 2 stars
7/18/04 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
7/09/04 Melissa McCord Not that good. A little too weird 2 stars
7/08/04 Denise good story but she got the award because she looked like crap 3 stars
6/29/04 Elena Amaro Good movie 5 stars
6/24/04 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
6/07/04 BooBoo Very Good. Theron deserved her Oscar 5 stars
5/30/04 Blakers a great film I loved it. 5 stars
4/11/04 Alan Liddle Over done 3 stars
3/30/04 Arlene Titshaw I wish charlize theron had her oscar, golden globe, etc all up her ass! 1 stars
3/29/04 Veronica It was one of the best movies I've ever seen. 5 stars
3/22/04 john bale Theron and Ricci brilliant as Thelma and Louise from Hell. Gritty and powerful stuff. 5 stars
3/20/04 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
3/13/04 Cheryl Conway Think, Jenna! One can't eat out what one doesn't have! 1 stars
3/12/04 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
2/26/04 me awesome 5 stars
2/15/04 Maximus Stellar performance from Theron 5 stars
2/06/04 LIAM JACKSON Aileen's 'victims' were evil scum that tried to rape her.she is no monster, shes a hero! 5 stars
2/05/04 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
2/01/04 Bill Teommey Bok Choy nails it. Life dealt the murderer cards that made her ending inevitable. 5 stars
1/31/04 malcolm Theron was brilliant, but an average film overall, it's no 'Boys Don't Cry' 3 stars
1/28/04 Mucki It was alright, although it made me squirm in my seat 3 stars
1/24/04 ROY L. CAIN,JR. Strong performances from Ms. Theron & Ms. Ricci. Cheers! 5 stars
1/21/04 smartmusician Shows partially Aileen Wurro's life 3 stars
1/20/04 DHite Good. It's impressive when a movie can make a murderer look even slightly sypmathetic 4 stars
1/12/04 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
1/11/04 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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