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RELEASED: 2003, Cert. 18
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 109 mins
DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY: Patty Jenkins
PRODUCERS: Mark Damon + four others
Charlize Theron as Aileen
Christina Ricci as Selby
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Monster is a film based on actual events in the life of Aileen Wuornos, a female serial killer and prostitute, who was executed in 2002 for killing six men.
The film begins when Aileen meets Selby, a young lesbian woman, in a gay bar. Selby mildly comes on to Aileen, her advances initially being met with hostility, but after a couple of beers and a chat, Aileen softens and the pair spends the night together.
Away from Aileen, Selby is staying with a middle-aged couple who agreed to put her up after she was banished by her parents for allegedly kissing a girl in church. Away from Selby, the very damaged Aileen continues her life as a prostitute.....but, after one of her clients brutally attacks her, she takes his gun and kills him with it.
From then onwards, Aileen vows to give up prostitution so that she can take care of the vulnerable Selby and provide for her. After unsuccessfully trying to find ordinary work, Aileen picks up the threads of her career as a prostitute, but this time with a difference....instead of giving into her clients' demands, she lures them to isolated places, kills them, stealing their money and cars...returning to Selby with promises of how they are going to be rich, move away and start a new life together elsewhere.
However, things don't work out quite as easily as either Aileen or Selby plan.
Monster is a film which for about the first ten minutes, I thought was going to be really trashy. Firstly, the title put me off a bit, leading me to believe that although I knew from the outset that it was based on the true story of a prostitute turned serial killer, it would be a mish-mash of sensationalist nonsense. How wrong I was!
Very soon after the shaky beginning, I found myself getting drawn into the film, becoming more and more impressed with Charlize Theron's acting by the minute. She overall gives a truly compelling, stunning and very moving performance, which isn't in the slightest bit contrived or cheesy. The contrasts in Aileen's personality are put across brilliantly, as she oscillates from being a very tough lady who is prepared to go more than the extra mile to get what she wants, and earthily tender carer and friend of Selby. The thing which stood out for me is that Aileen feels pangs of guilt towards a couple of her victims, but is able to override them when she moves her thoughts towards her intentions of looking after Selby.
Christina Ricci is also very good as the wide-eyed, sometimes naïve Selby, but her excellent performance is slightly shadowed by that of Charlize Theron as the irascible, rough and ready Aileen.
I absolutely love the way the two women cohere together in this ultimately moving film, bouncing off of and complementing one another perfectly. Even as I type this, an hour or so after watching the film, I can't get Charlize Theron's facial expressions out of my mind, and I want to know why I haven't heard of this brilliant actress before. In Monster, she comes across as tousled, scruffy, dowdy and with a rather scary expression emanating from these deep brown, almost black eyes....yet to see photos of her on the internet, the glamorous woman in those is a million miles from her portrayal of Aileen in Monster.
Acting aside, what struck me most about Monster was the relationship between the two young women, and what held them together. It seems to me as if each one, in her own way, was just as needy and dependent on the other, but I personally saw Selby as the ultimate 'user', even though that wasn't her intention. Also, the way I see it is that Aileen isn't actually a lesbian or even bisexual, but she discovers something in Selby which she wants to nurture and stay with. Both women are rather lost in life, Selby expressing her neediness through vulnerability and Aileen hiding hers behind a tough outer shell...but her veneer does slip a little now and again.
Sailing very close to the wind and being aware of it, Aileen goes to the end of the line in order to exact money from her clients after she has murdered them, with the sole thought in mind of pleasing Selby. Aileen apparently had an extremely dysfunctional, unhappy childhood which is only touched upon briefly in the story....I would have liked to see this expanded on a little more, but even so, the film is fine as it stands. However, such doesn't excuse the fact that she was a serial killer, even though her motives were different to how they outwardly appeared. She is a very scary lady and a murderer to boot, but reading between the lines, I certainly wouldn't call her a monster.
I absolutely loved the music to Monster, the written score being what I can only describe as light 'road' music, interspersed with snatches of Blondie's The Tide Is High, Tommy James & The Shondells' Crimson & Clover and a couple of other gems. Even if anybody hates the film, if they have the same taste in music as me, they'll love at least that part of it.
Due to the very nature of the story which is based on truth, Monster does contain some scenes of violence, but they are very mild compared to say, a modern-day slasher film. There is no torture, no knives, no ripping out of anybody's internal organs....simply a woman who needs to kill, pulling the trigger of a gun at what for her are the appropriate moments.
I have no idea how closely Monster sticks to the life story of the real Aileen Wuornos, and she isn't alive so can't provide her own opinion....but, whether this is close to home or a few miles away, it is nonetheless a very compelling, moving film with stunning performances from the two leading actresses, particularly that of Charlize Theron as Aileen....which definitely is Oscar-worthy. I have no idea if Theron received any awards for her powerful performance, but if she didn't, then she sure should have done!
My overall recommendation is...watch it, and to not allow the first ten or so minutes of the film to prejudice you against it. Stay with this one, as it truly is well worth the ride.
At the time of writing, Monster can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £1.76 to £19.99
Used: from 1p to £99.99 !!!
Some items on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
*Film only review*
I have just watched Monster on a film channel on T.V. and thought I would review it whilst it is fresh in my memory.
First off I would like to say I really enjoyed this film, having seen it before I knew what it was about and knew what the story was based on.
It is based on a true story and I always find these films the most interesting.
Charlize Theron plays the part of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, known throughout the film as Lee. She looks surprising like the real Aileen Wuornos and I found that quite remarkable. She plays the part extreamely well too.
Christina Ricci plays the part of Lee's girlfriend Selby Wall, again this part is played out great too. Her part is based on Tyria Moore.
The film starts with the two women meeting in a bar and after having a drink together, Lee goes back with Selby to the house she is staying in, nothing happens that night but as the film progresses the relationship between the two of them becomes clear.
With nowhere for the couple to live, Lee goes home. It is here she carries out prostitution and is brutely raped. She manages to escape from being tied up in a car and get's out and shoots the man dead. This is where her killings begin.
She goes back to find Selby and they move into a place together, by this point Lee has also given up protitution and tries to get herself a real job, this prooves to be unsuccesful as Lee has no real qualifications.
Selby is left home alone, and when Lee gets back they have an argument about the lack of money and food, it is here that lee confesses to murder!
Being desperate for money, Lee turns back to prostitution with the intent to steal from her clients, and again this is where the muders begin again. She starts coming back with different cars, stolen from the client and lot's of money. She does take pity on one nervous client, but goes on to kill again.
She treats Selby to the high life and they go to bars, drinking all night and to fancy restaurants. Lee argues with the owner of a restaurant when he tells Selby not to smoke, and it's pretty much here we see the anger and resentment thats been building up in her.
After an argument Selby moves back home and Lee ends up getting arrested in a bar for an outstanding warrant. The police needing a reason for putting her on trial, and get in touch with Selby. With the phones bugged Selby and Lee have an emotional phone conversation, Selby states how scared she is and that she doesn't want to go to jail. Lee asks Selby about some money, this is her code for are the phone lines bugged! Selby acts innocent and denies any knowledge but sobs that she has the change.
Lee states that she has commited the murders alone and that Selby knew nothing - to protect her.
Selby goes on to testify against Lee and she is convicted and sentenced to death.
Charlize Theron won numerous awards for her part in this film and between takes she reportedly studied clips of Aileen to get the part just right.
Christina Ricci unlike Charlize Theron didn't look like the person she was playing but played it very well.
The story like I said above is based on a true story, Aileen Wuornos killed 7 men between 1989 - 1990 in Florida. She claimed all had beat and raped her during her time as working as a prostitute. She was convicted for 6 of the murders and was sentenced to death by leathal injection, this took place on October 9th 2002.
If you want to find out any more about Aileen Wuornos type her name into a searchh engine or try this:
Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos
Christina Ricci as Selby Wall
Bruce Dern as Thomas
Lee Tergesen as Vincent Corey
Annie Corley as Donna
Pruitt Taylor Vince as Gene / Stuttering "John"
Marco St. John as Evan / Undercover "John"
Marc Macaulay as Will / Daddy "John"
Scott Wilson as Horton / Last "John"
Charlize Theron deserved every piece of her Oscar when she starred in this film about the late, real life female serial killer, Aileen Wuornos.
The movie charts Aileen's life from childhood right up to her arrest and sentencing in court for murdering men.
I have seen interviews with the real Aileen Wuornos and Theron captures her presence and personality very well.
In fact, I would go so far as to say this is the best performance by a female actress that I have seen!
Charlize is an attractive actress but you could never tell it was her in this movie what with the excellent makeup job that had been applied to her here.
Christina Ricci is Theron's co-star as a lesbian woman named Selby who befriends her.
It is well documented that the two did share a sexual relationship in real life and this is pointed out in the film.
This film wasn't exactly made for entertainment purposes since it is a biography about a real life serial killer but it does try to actually make the viewer feel a little sympathy for Aileen and her life.
I am sure this element is probably quite controversial among viewers who have seen the film.
Also, this is a dialogue driven movie, however, it is captivating if you like film biopics.
Unlike other Hollywood biopics (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story comes to mind), this pays respect to the real life events of Aileen's life and the people involved with her.
As you may expect, this film does contain violence but there is actually minimal gore in this movie, which is a good thing, considering that people died at the hands of this person.
If you are easily offended or upset then you are best to stay away from this movie.
I recommend this picture to those that like biopics.....this is a respectful one!
Moster tells the disturbing story of the life of Aileen Wuormos a seriel killer whose life was ended in a Florda jail when the death penalty sentence that she was imprisoned under was carried out.
In total she was convicted of six killings which all took place in the short space of twelve months or so and it is a sockingly frank tale of what drove herto commit such crimes andthe abuse she sufferred that moulded her mind and that saw her working as a prostitute to support her and her lesbian lover. One night while working she is tied up and fearing for her life manages to escape and kill the client and although for a while she tries to break free of the prostitute life she ends up returning to it and soon finds it can be more lucrative to kill the clients and steal both their money and cars.
Charlize Theron is brilliant in the role of Wuornos and she turns in an Oscar winning performance with a strong and emotional performance that is utterly convincing. Christina Ricci plays her lover Selby and she is also excellent in the role.
This film certainly holds nothing back and at times you will find you have some sympathy for the two characters however Wuornos is a killer and you can never get away from the fact that her victims did not really deserve to die.
I wouldcertainly recomend this film, it is not the most pleasant of subject matters but the story has its own kind of fascination to it and the acting is superb.
We watched this on TV the other night and even though Charlize Theron is one of my fave actresses I didn't enjoy this film because it was proper boring and even though it's based on a true story it seemed proper far fetched.
Charlize Theron plays Aileen Wuornos who is a prostitute. After she is assaulted by one punter she takes on a hate for men and goes on a killing spree at the same time turning lesbian and moving in with her weird girlfriend Selby, played by Christina Ricci. Aileen was killing the men out of revenge at first but then she realised she could kill and rob them and support her and Selby without having to sleep with any of the punters.
Eventually she's caught and is sentenced to death, because she's a proper unhinged woman she could have got away with it but she decided early on that she wanted to be executed because her life had been so unhappy up to now.
I thought this was a proper freaky film because I'd heard that Charlize Theron plays Aileen to be as true to life as poss and that makes Aileen a real scary woman! Charlize is a beautiful woman but she has been made up to look like an ugly trailer trash woman in Monster and you wouldn't recognise her unless you knew it was her. She played the part wicked I thought and it was easy to forget you were watching a film because it was done in a way to look a bit like a documentary.
I didn't like any of the characters in the film but then I probably wasn't supposed to. I thought Selby was a very selfish and greedy person, she wasn't that bothered by Aileen but liked living with her because Aileen looked after her and treated her good. If the 2 of them hadn't got together then I reckon Aileen wouldn't have committed all the murders because she was in love with Selby and a lot of the killings and robberies were so she could treat her better. Aileen is a proper scary character and my mum has seen a documentary about the real Aileen Wuornos and she said she's a proper headcase who was told she would definitely get a reprieve if she put in for it but she decided she wanted to be executed instead!
The acting is brill in Monster. Christina Ricci is as wooden as she always is but I've come to expect that from her now, Charlize Theron is a brill actress but she hasn't got a lot to work with in this film. She plays the rabid and mentally unstable Aileen brilliantly though and watching her was like really watching someone's mental state becoming unravelled.
Monster didn't have me sitting on the edge of my seat because my mum had already told me the story of Aileen Wuornos so I knew how it was going to end and what was going to happen to her. The film nearly all takes place at night as well because thats when Aileen did her killings so it's a dark film, I also found it very depressing as I watched it because there was no good news for the characters. Even when Aileen was happy at getting with Selby it was bad news because you could see that Selby was just using her as a meal ticket and she didn't love Aileen at all.
I thought it was a boring film from the start to the finish and don't know how it got all those Oscar noms because the best thing about it was the make up making Charlize look ugly for a refreshing change!
Monster is based on Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer, prostitute, and the 10 woman to be executed in America since the ban on capital punishment was lifted, and the second woman to over be executed in Florida.
The film focuses on a short period in Aileens life, around a year when she committed the six murders she was executed for. She meets Selby in a gay bar and although Aileen insists she's straight, they soon find themselves getting along really well, and eventually Selby runs away from home to live with Aileen. Unable to support themselves any other way Aileen continues her work as a prostitute. But one night it all goes wrong and she find herself unconscious, in a stranger car, tied up and unable to defend herself. She manages to free herself and kills the man that did this to her. She is able to take all the money from the dead man, and the car, so the couple are able to get by for a while. However, Aileen doesn't want to carry on being a prostitute now, so she starts to look for a 'real' job. After a string of unsuccessful interviews Selby convinces her she should continue working as what she's good at, she goes back to being a prostitute. As life gets harder Aileen kills more men as it means she can have more money and also a car if only for a short time. Things spiral out of control until the point where the police move in and Aileen is finally caught and sentenced.
This film is obviously about a very controversial character and a touchy subject matter. If they acting wasn't beyond excellent it wouldn't have worked at all. But Charlize Theron is certainly that, he acting is truly fantastic and she won an Oscar for it in this film. Apparently she watched a documentary on Aileen Wuornos numerous times as to get in character and I think she is far removed from who we picture Charlize Theron as today. The makeup used on her in the film is subtle, but it goes a long way in transforming her into the Aileen that we see. Christina Ricci as Selby isn't quite as dramatic, her acting is quite subtle but it clearly defines the relationship the two had, and how the events that happened came to be.
This is a weird film to watch. It is very awkward in places and quite sad. At one time you know you're watching a serial killer and you think about how disgusting that is, but at others you have gotten to know the characters and thinking about the insight you have been given into Aileen's past changes how you view things. I think that most people will have their own opinion on this as it certainly isn't all black and white.
The film also changes gradually, it starts with Aileen and Selby meeting, they find happiness in each other and stop living the lonely lives they did before each other. But it's doomed not to work. Aileen is clearly distraught after she killed her first victim, but it is shown to be in self defence. From how I saw the film it seemed to me that she would have stopped being a prostitute and done anything she could to get a proper job. But the help she needed wasn't there, and as she wanted to please Selby and give her everything she could, she was urged to carry on as a prostitute, and eventually killing.
Although it makes you feel awkward at times, this is a very good film. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who can't watch uncomfortable scenes such as rape and murder, because this is this films basis. But it is good, and the acting is wonderful. It makes me wonder on how it differs from what really happens though. Watching this kind of makes you have an opinion on the real killer, but of course it cannot truly portray her. Still, it is interesting to see what may have made her live her life the way she did.
Monster is a 2003 true crime drama of the American serial killer Aileen Wuornos. The film was extremely highly praised by critics and Charlize Theron ended up winning several Best Actress awards for her role including and Academy Award. Monster was made on a budget of $8,000,000 and grossed an estimated $60,378,584 at the box office. The film is rated 18 and runs for approximately 109 minutes.
Aileen Wuornos killed 7 men between the years of 1989 and 1990, she claimed that the reason for the murders was that the men had tried to rape her when she was working as a prostitute. Wuornos was sentenced to death in 1992 and was eventually killed via lethal injection on 9th October 2002.
The film is directed by Patty Jenkins, who also wrote the screenplay for the film. She has worked on: Entourage, Arrested Development, Velocity Rules and Just Drive.
Charlize Theron plays the lead role of Aileen Wuornos in the film, she has previously appeared in: The Devil's Advocate, Hancock and The Italian Job. Her co-star is played by Christina Ricci who's appeared in: Sleepy Hollow, Speed Racer and The Opposite Of Sex.
Upon arriving in Florida, Aileen Wuornos goes to a bar where she meets Selby (Christina Ricci) a young gay woman who lives with her deeply religious relatives. Although Aileen is not gay she likes Selby and the feeling is reciprocated. After the two have sex after a night out to an ice-skating rink things start to heat up pretty quickly and Aileen pressures Selby to move out and run away with her.
Selby agrees when Aileen promises to take care of her, Selby is aware that Aileen is a prostitute and strangely isn't bothered by it. While Aileen is on a usual night out working she is propositioned by a man who takes her into the woods, Aileen is an experienced prostitute and thinks this is just another job however the man turns violent and proceeds to tie her up and rape her. Aileen notices a gun and shoots the man several times and continues to hide the body. Aileen however doesn't leave it there, she is so disturbed by the incident that she continues to kill all the men that require her services. She's thinks she's gotten away with it but soon enough the police are onto her and she and Selby must go on the run to avoid being caught...
This is just the kind of film that interests me, I like films that are based on truth and after hearing so many great things about this film I just had to give it a watch. Coincidently I've noticed this film is actually showing tonight (19/5) on Film 4!
After seeing the film I watched a documentary about Aileen Wuornos and I was impressed at how accurately the film portrayed the events. Also the transformation for Charlize Theron was incredible, she went from being one of the worlds most lusted after women to being a real monster (no pun intended). She looks so much like the real Aileen Wuornos it's uncanny.
The acting in this is absolutely amazing and all credit should go out to Charlize Theron for that, the role of a serial killer can't be the easiest role to play but she took to it like a duck to water. She somehow manages to convey emotion from her character and at some points you almost find yourself sympathising with her tragic upbringing and her awful adulthood. I think the way Charlize Theron manages to change from being a psychopathic killer with no remorse to being a woman in a relationship who will do anything to protect her partner is brilliant. It was no surprise to me when I found out that she won an Oscar for Best Actress based on this role. Christina Ricci was also brilliant as the sweet but naïve Selby, you can really feel how she's torn between her love for Aileen and her morals as a result of her strictly religious upbringing.
I think the way the story pans out is excellent, I like the way that you get to know that character of Aileen before the killings start because it gives you the chance to get a sense of who she is and why she's turned out the way she has. The story could be described as a thriller because at times it becomes very tense, not just with the murder scenes but some scenes towards the end where she's nearing capture are very tense and although you know that outcome you still find yourself getting really involved with the story. I really like how you get to know the characters as I mentioned earlier, it really gets you more into the story and brings out emotions in you.
A couple of the murder scenes are very graphic so it's not a film for the feint hearted. I think the graphic violence was important to the story and I'm glad the director didn't try to tone it down to make the film a 15 rating simply to open it up to a wider audience. The murder scenes are extremely powerful, especially the first one. This is the murder that opens up the rest of the film and is the motive for the other six murders. Of course it doesn't excuse what she did to the other six men but after witnessing the first murder you feel for her as it must be an awful thing for anyone to experience. The whole film is extremely powerful and will have you utterly gripped from start to finish.
I'd highly recommend Monster to anyone who hasn't seen it yet, it's an incredibly powerful film that's been brilliantly directed with superb actors who portray their characters excellently. It's also a very interesting film for anyone who's interested in true crime stories, the story as a whole is fascinating and the whole film is a very compelling watch and I would strongly suggest you give it a try.
The DVD is currently available from play.com for £3.99, a bargain for such a brilliant and compelling film.
The special features include:
Audio commentary from Charlize Theron, director Patty Jenkins and producer Clark Peterson
Monster (2003) is a breath of fresh air. An intelligent film with a simple plot (no flashbacks / jump cuts / dream sequences) no special effects and no stunts. Monster is just a film based on an amazing story with brilliant dialogue and immense acting.
Directed by relative newcomer Patty Jenkins, Monster is the biographical story of Aileen Wuornos - America's first serial killer woman. Whilst running the risk of ruining your hopes of a happy ending - Wuornos was executed in America in October 2002.
This film stars Charlize Theron (Cider House Rules, the Italian Job) and Christina Ricci (plenty of other films but nothing worth seeing). Both excel in their roles. Theron playing Aileen put on pounds to play the role and the facial similarity between Therons Aileen and the real mccoy is amazing.
The film starts with the two meeting in a bar after both having rough days / lives. They connect immediately with the delicate and almost insecure Selby (Ricci) attaching herself to the seemingly strong women that Aileen portrays.
Aileen for her part is extremely protective of Selby.
Aileen turns to prostitution as a way of earning money to make their life more confortable and to give Selby the stability and the material things that she needs. Whilst on a job Aileen is violently raped by a client. In the heat of the moment Aileen attacks and kills her rapist. Shaken up, Aileen vows to give up the game but in trying to find suitable employment Wuornos finds out just how detached she has fallen from regular society.
Trapped into prostitution in order to make ends meet and to hang onto Selby, Wuornos keeps working. After being raped though she grows a hatred of men and ends up knocking a fair number off and robbing them. This film is never going to have a happy ending and true to expectations it doesn't.
Both Theron and Ricci are amazing in this film. The contrast between the two is what makes this film. Ricci is delicate, almost pure and likeable - Theron is aggressive, bitter and full of hate. This is a great, great film and as above it has no effects and no complex twists to the plot, it is just brilliantly acted with intense dialogue.
~ Introduction ~
My boyfriend is an avid movie fan and manages to find great pieces of cinema often just by browsing in the dvd shops. He picked this title up yesterday and we watched it last night. I wondered how come I had never heard of movie despite the publicity of the real events and one with such an outstanding perfomance.
~ Synopsis ~
It's indeed very hard not to spoil the plot if the movie is based on the story of 'America's first female serial killer' as Aileen Wuornos has been referred to in the media and also in The Guiness World Book of Records. Lee (as Aileen is called in the movie) is a prostitute who is on the verge of rapidly going down the gutter for good when she meets a young girl. She desperately grabs at her last chance of quitting and having a normal life she's never had.
~ Performance ~
Lee is played by Charlize Theron (The Italian Job, The Devil's Advocate, Hancock) who even had a body transformation to be able to portray the battered look of Aileen to the point she's barely recognisable. Her acting is phenomenal, her facial expressions or rather contortions were the spitting image of a manic hooker and a nervous wreck rolled into one. She won the Oscar's Best Actress award for her perfomrance. Christina Ricci plays Lee's young partner called Selby in an equally convincing role, though not at all portrayed after the real person either physically or in character.
~ Viewing experience ~
Apart from the occasional tender moments between the two protagnists, the film is violent from start to finish. Non-stop swearing, confrontation and a sense of of constant danger characterise the atmosphere in which two desperate and lost souls trying to grab at their diminishing choices while only one is them is actually aware of it. There isn't much happening in terms of character or plot development, the events cascade rather rapidly and bring blow after blow to the hasty ending. It's certainly not for the faint hearted to watch, some of the more violent and graphic ones made me cringe with dismay. I did cry just before the end, while the most emotionally charged moments of the movie were played out.
~ Conclusion ~
I do not feel that having prior knowledge of the plot would make watching the movie any less intense. The reason for that is the events are portrayed with a bias, namely from Aileen's point of view and not e.g from the victims' family or the press who obviously did their best to portray her as a monster. Fair enough, I do not condone her acts in the slightest. The film carries a lot stronger point than that of her 'circumstances' that forced her to do what she did as Aileen referred to in a documentary made about her. For me it is a violence makes violence and evil creates more evil. A disturbing, but powerful movie, recommended.
~ Price / where to buy ~
Amazon: Used from £0.55 or new (2 DVDs edition) for £19.99
Thanks for reading.
©powered by lillybee also posted on Ciao! UK
I bought several DVD's in bulk recently to re-sell but being second hand, I always watch the ones that interest me that I haven't seen. This one sounded interesting and I'd never come across it before (guess I was busy that year!). Directed by Patty Jenkins, I had never seen any of her films until this time!
Monster is a dramatical look into the life of serial killer Aileen Wuornos (real person), a prostitute who goes on a killing spree sparked by a rape incident and having been knocked out, tied up and covered in petrol. Much of the focus of the film is on the relationship between Aileen (Charlize Theron) and a teenage girl from a conservative family called Selby (Christina Ricci), Selby is a lesbian but why seems a bit of a goody two shoes and I'm quite surprised that she's endeared to Aileen, who has a face like a weathered cliff (the make-up artists did a great job) and a tendency to start fights. Monster has a couple of funny moments but on the whole it's quite dark subject matter. I won't go into lengthy detail about the killing spree as it might give the plot away but the two traverse the country in an attempt for a new life, however Aileen's lack of prospects in non-prostitue jobs and Selby's seemingly complete lack of adulthood not only lead Aileen into her killer lifestyle but also make Selby come across as a completely spoilt child. Aileen's real desire is to shower Selby with gifts and give her an exciting life, this doesn't happen though and it soon spirals out of control.
I thought this film saw some superb acting from Eileen and despite her crimes and unappealing side, you can't help but feel sorry for her and will most probably find yourself routing for her. Selby is a different kettle of fish and completely irritates me, Ricci plays the part incredibly well though.
Definitely not a family film but an interesting film and a great performance from the duo.. and let's not forget the people acting dead! Good job all-round!
Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos
Christina Ricci as Selby Wall
Bruce Dern as Thomas
Lee Tergesen as Vincent Corey
Pruitt Taylor Vince as Gene / Stuttering "John"
Marco St. John as Evan / Undercover "John"
Marc Macaulay as Will / Daddy "John"
Scott Wilson as Horton / Last "John"
Kane Hodder as Undercover Cop
Charlize Theron gained 30 pounds for her role in the film.
Christina Ricci gained about 10 pounds for her role in the film.
Steve Perry from the band Journey was the music consultant.
Charlize Theron won the academy award for playing Aileen Wuornos on February 29, 2004, Wuornos' 48th birthday.
Aileen Wuornos, a notoriously uncooperative person, gave director Patty Jenkins access to hundreds of letters she had written and received in order to gain insight into Aileen's life.
The word "f**k" and all permutations of it are spoken 189 times.
The last two pieces were borrowed courtesy of Wikipedia!
Aileen is a prostitute with few friends. She hates her profession and hates the men that she has to rely on, but she needs the money to live. When she first meets Selby at a bar, she realises that she is a lesbian and rebuffs her. However, Aileen craves affection so much that she lets Selby into her life, and before much longer, they are living together. Aileen tries to change her ways, applying for jobs for which she has little in the way of qualifications. Unfortunately, her temper often gets the better of her and she is soon forced to return to prostitution. When she is attacked one night, she decides that enough is enough and fights back, killing her client. This is the first of many killings. Can she maintain her lust for blood and her relationship with Selby? Or will Selby give her lover up to the police?
I went to see this film in the cinema when it first came out, purely out of curiosity about the female serial killer, Aileen Wuornos. And I came out impressed, mainly because of Charlize Theron's performance. Having since seen the film twice more, I can appreciate that the film is not without its flaws, but one thing that hasn't changed is that Theron is superb here. She looks very different from her normal svelte self. She gained weight for the role and had prosthetic teeth added, all of which change her appearance substantially. However, it is more than just make-up; it is also the way she carries herself, the expressions on her face - all this make her look like a woman who has never seen the inside of a proper bathroom and has had to fight for every scrap of food that she eats. Most importantly, I forgot that she was anyone other than Aileen Wuornos and that is no easy feat.
Christina Ricci plays Selby, and the more often I have seen her in this role, the better I think she is. Ricci is a very photogenic girl, and yet, as Selby, she manages to look downright ordinary without really changing anything about the way she looks. Her timidity and need for someone to protect her is touching, as is her struggle within herself to do what is right. I have never been that impressed with Ricci's performances before, but this one really is something special and has made me think that there is more to her than meets the eye.
The emphasis of the film is very much on Aileen and her relationship with Selby, and as such, there is a feeling that the murders that Aileen committed were very much secondary to the main story. I don't particularly have a problem with this, although I am sure that the families of the murdered men would feel that the film is a little self-indulgent. I did feel that, although the director Patty Jenkins tried hard not to be judgmental, there is a slight tilt towards showing Aileen's background and how this affected her behaviour. This is fine - I think it is very rare that life is black and white - and in any case, Aileen has now paid for her crimes, but I was left wondering about the families that the men she murdered left behind.
As often happens with true crime, there are boring parts to the story, particularly in the middle of the film - Aileen murders a john, returns home to Selby, Selby worries about their future and then it all starts again. However, this wasn't dull enough to make me think about switching off and it wasn't long before Aileen's capture is imminent and the tension begins to build up. I was slightly disappointed by the ending. When it comes, it feels hurried, as if the director just wants to finish. But as the film is nearly two hours long, it is perhaps just as well that the ending didn't last any longer than it did.
Anyone hoping for good, clean, family fun is obviously not going to watch a film about a serial killer. However, even for the not very easily shocked, there is a lot of swearing and violence going on in this film. There is one scene where a client knocks Aileen out and then uses an object to rape her. And then there is the relationship between Aileen and Selby. Although there is nothing terribly graphic, there is some kissing and fondling. If you're offended by any of this, then obviously, don't watch. And before the guys start thinking they can see some girl on girl action, I can assure you there isn't much here that will impress.
There is a soundtrack to the film, which includes the fabulous 'Don't Stop Believing' by Journey - this is the song that Aileen and Selby skate to on their first date. This is a song that I grew up with and that I felt suited the tone of the film very well.
This is a film that gives a human edge to what is a very dark story. There are times when it doesn't make pleasant viewing. However, provided that you can stomach the violence and the subject matter, I think it is a film that is worth watching, if only for the stellar performances by Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci. It is certainly a film that I will keep coming back to time after time. Recommended.
The DVD is available from play.com from £1.67.
Running time: 109 minutes
=== Monster. ===
Director: Patty Jenkins
Release Date: 2004
Runtime: 109 mins Approx.
=== Plot. ===
Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron) works as a prostitute, and survives on the money she makes. One day she goes into a bar where she is drinking alone and after a while she realises it is a gay bar. Christina Ricci plays a lesbian character named Selby who is living a life as a troubled individual, due to her being unable to express her sexuality to her extremely religious family. She walks over and offers to buy Aileen a drink. To which she refuses thinking that Ricci is going to try something with her. After Selby convinces her she isn't going to make a move on her she accepts he offer and they spend the night in the bar drinking and just having a good time.
When they leave the bar, Selby invites Aileen to stay in her home for the night due to Aileen's truck breaking down. Soon after the pair go skating and then quickly realise they like each other and become a couple.
With Selby leaving her relatives home and moving in with Aileen, Aileen decides to quit being a prostitute and get a real job so that she can support Selby and give them food and a place to live. Because she has had no experience and no qualifications, she finds it very difficult to find a job, due to employers instantly turning her down.
Due to them being starving and unable to afford food, Aileen secretly goes back to prostitution, but after a man beats and rapes her, she reaches for a gun and shoots him, then hides his body and any evidence of what happened. She takes his money and starts buying nice food and taking Selby out for meals and entertainment.
When she starts running out of money, she once again kills a man and steals his belongings and lives a life of luxury for a while, until she once again runs out and has to kill another man. Soon becoming America's first female serial killer..
=== My Opinion. ===
I've not really seen much of Charlize Theron in movies, but her role in this film is excellent, and she acts brilliantly as Aileen Wuornos. And definetly deserved the Oscar she was awarded for the movie.
I have seen pictures of Theron before, and she looks completely unrecognisable in her role.
Christina Ricci playes Aileen's real life partner, Selby, and shows the good side of Aileen in the movie. And tries to show that she wasn't all evil.
The fact that this is based on a true story, makes the things that happened more disturbing, but also offers a interesting insight into the way America's first female serial killer lived.
I watched this movie on TV so I haven't seen any of the extras or special features. So this is a film only review. But I did see the DVD to buy at HMV for £2.99. And I'd recommend a purchase just so you can see the movie.
4 out of 5 stars.
(Also posted on Ciao.).
Usually the only films I watch are girly romances or comedies, however a few nights ago when Monster was shown on TV I found myself watching it.
The film is based on the true story of Aileen Wuornos, Americas first female serial killer. I knew a bit about her story before watching the movie, having seen a documentary about her a few years back.
Aileen (Charlize Theron) became a prostitute at the age of 13 after a difficult upbringing. She also had a baby at this age, giving it up for adoption after its birth. She had no family around her, and really brought herself up. Although these issues were briefly touched on at the beginning of the film, where the film really starts is the day Aileen (referred to throughout the majority of the film as Lee) meets Selby (Christina Ricci) in a bar. Selby is a lesbian, and although Aileen isnt, her craving for affection, means that they start a relationship together. Selby is younger than Aileen and Aileen is willing to do anything to keep her happy. Selby moves out of her home to live with Aileen, much to her mothers protest.
One night while hooking Aileen gets into a car with a man who drives her out to the woods, then attacks and rapes her. Aileen shoots him dead in self defence, and then takes his car, telling Selby she has borrowed it from a friend.
At this point, Aileen decides to give up on prostitution, but it isnt long before Selby becomes upset at their lack of money. Aileen tries to get other regular jobs, but no-one is interested. Although younger than Aileen, Selby is very manipulative and knows Aileen will do anything for her, so she persuades her to get back into prostitution not knowing anything about the rape or the murder. Aileen has seen press cuttings and knows that, although the body of the first man she killed was found, the police have no leads whatsoever shes got away with it. This makes the troubled Aileen think - now she no longer wants to have sex with these men, murdering them is an easy option, as she can then rob them to provide for herself and Selby.
~What I thought~
Obviously this is based on a true story, and anyone who followed Aileens story in the press will know what happened, so it wasnt like the ending was a huge surprise.
Aileens love and almost desperation for someone to like her is portrayed well in the film and it is very well acted. Charlize Theron was completely unrecognisable, having been in full prosthetic make-up, complete with false teeth for this film, and she also won an oscar for her role as Aileen.
I thought the film was actually very disappointing it was like I spent the whole thing waiting for it to really kick in. Even after the first murder, the film still doesnt seem to offer anything spectacular I thought it was very steady and boring. I think most viewers will have a basic idea of the plot a prostitute who becomes a serial killer, but to be honest I didnt feel that there was much more to it than that, and was quite disappointed by the film overall.
Runtime: 109 minutes
Please note this is a film-only review
Wow, after watching the televised documentary "Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer", I was so shocked when I realised that the movie was to be released. I purchased it as I wanted to see how the documentary would relate in comparison to the film. This DVD actually shows 'The Making of a Monster' documentary: a UK exclusive! (22 mins) as an extra bonus feature.
With scenes of sex, violence, emotion, shock and horror, it was excellently produced by Clark Peterson and directed by Patty Jenkins. You can capture the emotion behind her attacks it's a really terrible story that needn't have happened.
**About The Film**
The revelatory story is about Aileen Wuornos (Played by Charlize Theron), who is a prostitute. She was later executed in 2003 after being convicted of murdering six men in Florida, USA. While Aileen Wuornos confessed to all six murders, including that of a policeman, she claimed to have killed only in self-defense, resisting violent sexual assaults while working as a prostitute to earn the money to live off.
The film also explores some of her life as a child/teenager - which in turn led to her disgust of men and helps you gain some understanding as to why she could go onto do what she does.
Monster also shows her relationship with a young woman named Selby (Christina Ricci), which has a dramatic knock-on effect on her murder spree. It all intertwines with each other and will have you utterly shocked throughout. The stare of Aileen Wuornos literally goes straight through you as you sit and watch the story unfold. Despite the circumstances of the murders, I couldn't help but feel slightly sorry for her as a human being. What feelings she must have felt to be compelled to do what she did is unthinkable.
Charlize Theron expresses this woman's horrific life history without softening her personality at all and the performance is undoubtedly outstanding. Christina Ricci, performs very well as the outcast young girl Selby, the passion and love between them is definitely caught on camera and you very get caught up in the emotions of this real -life dramatisation.
This is certainly a performance of gripping, devastating, physical and psychological transformation and will stick in your mind for a long time after watching it. It is not to be missed. Obviously this film is rated 18 for a reason, so I suggest, that if you are weak willed, its maybe not for you as it has a lot of sexual violence in it.
**Special DVD Features**
This DVD features an Audio commentary from the Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron, director Patty Jenkins and producer Clark Peterson. I particularly enjoyed this as it gave me more insight into the roles that each person played in making this real life based story.
The DVD also features a theatrical trailer (from the cinema), interactive menu, scene access, deleted and extended scenes and an exclusive interview with Patty Jenkins and the film's composer - this also offers more understanding behind Aileen's mind as a killer.
Running time: Approx 104 Minutes
Viewing Format: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio Format: 5.1 Surround Sound
Disc Format: Dual Layered Disc
Subtitles: English, Malay, Chinese & Thai
**Where To Buy**
Available on both the high street and the web - you could return a good competitive price by using the DooYoo search facility or any search bot.
The RRP is £19.99, so use this as a guide to find a good price. It is also available in several different regions, so check compatibility before buying.
Certainly a film not for the faint hearted, very emotionally shocking. An outstanding production and direction. A tremendous performance by both Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci.
I would also recommend viewing the documentary as before viewing this film, which again can be purchased on DVD.
Monster is the movie that propelled Charlize Theron to international megastardom and won her a Best Actress Oscar to boot. It is the true story of the infamous Aileen Wournos, prostitute and serial killer, who was executed in 2002 for the murders of seven men while going about her business on the Florida state highway.
Aileen Wournos childhood was horrendous. Some of the facts written about her are open to conjecture, but it is fairly certain that she was beaten by her father, sexually abused by her brother and grandfather, and raped by someone else close. She had no real friends and was constantly teased. Before hitting her teens, she was selling blow-jobs for cigarettes and soon after that began having sex with any boy or man who looked her way. She became pregnant in her early teens some say by her grandfather, some say by the local paedophile, some say by any of the innumerable males who had lain between her legs. Her family made her give away the baby and then disowned her. It was the depths of winter, and she went to live in the woods.
Before long she was patrolling the highways as a hitch-hiking hooker, using the money to buy booze, cigarettes and the occasional bed for the night.
It is at this point in Aileens life that Monster begins.
One day Aileen finds herself in a gay bar, where she meets a girl called Selby (played by Christina Ricci). Selby is herself a troubled individual, struggling to express her sexuality within the confines of a highly religious and disapproving family. Aileen and Selby recognise in each other a sense of the outsider, and a short friendship they embark upon an affair.
In Aileen, Selby has found an escape, someone who will take her away from her family and who will work to keep her. Simultaneously, Aileen feels herself loved and genuinely desired for the first time in her life.
When Aileen (now calling herself Lee) is raped by a punter, the demons of her childhood are resurrected. In retaliation, she shoots him dead.
Determined to keep this a secret from Selby, Aileen moves the pair to a new home (for which you can read new motel room) and tries to get herself a regular job. Naturally, with Aileens lack of social skills and work experience, she finds no work, and is forced to return to highway prostitution.
At this point, Aileens killing spree really begins. She is unable to actually have sex with any of her punters since the rape, but Selbys demands for a comfortable lifestyle hang heavy on her shoulders. She flags men down on the road in order to kill them, and steal their cars, valuables and money.
Eventually, inevitably, Aileen and Selby are caught.
From here the film focuses on Aileen herself, her incarceration, confession and trial. Selby, who did not know about most of the murders, is absolved by Aileen and then turns witness against her.
In terms of the direction, there is nothing of note to say about Monster. There are no fancy camera angles, no sweeping metaphorical panoramas, no startling close-ups or atmospheric long-shots. Were it not for the explicit language and violence, it could easily have been one of those made-for-TV movies you used to see a lot of in the afternoons.
Monster is not a movie about direction really, but more one of performance.
Much was in the press about Therons amazing physical transformation when she played this role, including gaining 20-30 lbs, and indeed her resemblance to Aileen is remarkable. More remarkable than this, however, is her performance. Theron embodies Aileen so convincingly that you soon forget that you are watching an actress playing a role. Her accent, her walk, her mannerisms and facial contortions all give depth and truth to her performance and enable her to say much more about her character than is in the script.
The let down for me in this film was the character of Selby. Ricci does not give a bad performance, but the character in the movie is nothing like the real Selby. In real life, Selby was a very large redhead, whereas Ricci is an extremely slight brunette. In real life Selby was not kept by Aileen, but worked several different jobs, and often very long hours, throughout their relationship.
In other movies, Selbys fictionalisation wouldnt matter. But in this film, where so much trouble has been taken to get the character of Aileen just right, it seems strangely at odds to have Selby so untruthful.
Also, by casting Selby as a huge financial drain on Aileen, the movie adds a motive for Aileens killing spree that simply did not exist.
Anyone who has read one of the many books written about Aileen Wournos, or who has seen either of the two documentaries by Nick Bloomfield, will know that getting to the truth of Aileens motives is an impossible task. Though without doubt Aileen had the most terrible childhood, many myths have grown to shroud those years. And no one has ever really got to the bottom of whether or not Aileen was actually raped by the first man she killed. Before she died, Aileen changed her story continuously, sometimes claiming not to have been raped, sometimes claiming to have been raped by that first guy, and sometimes claiming to have been raped by all of the guys she murdered.
Rather than attempt to unravel the mystery of Aileen, Monster has actually added to the confusion by presenting some facts as they were and completely distorting others. This gives the film a lack of focus and leaves you asking as many questions at the end as you had at the beginning.
Also, the movie is for me rather too much in sympathy with Wournos. By presenting her as a woman with a genuine motive (at least for the first killing), and as a woman who is manipulated by the emotional demands of her partner, it appears to give rather too much credence to her behaviour. Writer, director and cast seem to have forgotten that no matter what horrors lay in Aileens upbringing the woman was a severely disturbed, psychopathic and sociopathic danger to society.
That said, however, I do recommend this film. The story is involving, the pace is reasonably brisk, and the performance of Charlize Theron is one of the best I have ever seen and is in itself worth watching the movie for.
Just dont expect any answers and dont believe everything you see and hear.