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Click for full sized poster


Starring Christina Ricci and Charlize Theron
Written and Directed by Patty Jenkins

IN SHORT: Oscar to Theron. [Rated R for strong violence and sexual content, and for pervasive language. 111 minutes]

That being said, and knowing what we've observed over the last ten years, Monster may feature some of the greatest performances few will ever see. We banged the drums for Monster's Ball a couple of years back. We'll do the same now.

Those who plant for Monster will see one of the best performances of the year in one of the most unpleasant films to sit through, of the year. You know it is a role fit for December: a true life story of a hookerturned robber and murderer who never found herself attracted to women before, but . . .

If we were downright cynical we'd make some smartass crack about beautiful women losing their looks to assure Oscar's attention -- we've seen it before and, actually, can't be more specific than to say that we vaguely remember that the beauty back then did just as hands down a bang-up job as Charlize Theron does in Monster. Once seen stripped of her looks, any who have not given props to her acting ability will be forced to do so. What's even more remarkable -- and only in the sense that we rarely get one good performance out of any given movie, but here we get two -- Theron is matched step by step by Christina Ricci in a story which recreates the path of Florida prostitute Aileen Wuornos (Theron) who offed her johns [back around 1980] and was executed for the same. It is, of course, a love story.

Not that we're any kind of expert on the subject but what reading we've done, or what talk show blabbermouth we've heard blabber on the matter, indicate that most prostitutes hate the men who furnish their paycheck (sic). What you see in Jenkins' script for Monster is based on hundreds of letters written by Wuornos, to a childhood friend, while on death row. That's about as close to original voice you're going to get considering the final fate of the letter writer. The difficult part is the creation of a composite character, Selby Wall (Ricci) to reflect reality. The creation is a composte love interest, a young woman sent to Floridian relatives by her parents [in Ohio] when she starts showing too much interest in the local women for their taste. [That doesn't stop her from hanging out in gay bars, which is where the pair hook up.]

It isn't that Wuornos hated men per se. Bruce Dern steps into this story as a best buddy of sorts, taking the edge off. Adding to that is the point that Wuornosis more than willing to toe the straight and narrow, once she and her gal commit. But the hooker knows nothing about office behavior and things come crashing down. With years of being beat up by her clients under her belt, Wuornos is not about to let one more use the gun that has dropped out of his pocket. And off we go.

Those details lay out just about all of the story. Telling you those details won't spoil a thing. The power of Monster is in its script, by director Patty Jenkins, and dropo dead phenomenal performances by its stars.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Monster, he would have paid . . .


Those who prefer the arthouse type film are not going to find better. The rest of us, preferring a story which will claw at our gut regardless of whether or not we like the lifestyle of the characters, are rewarded by the performances of the stars.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Patty Jenkins
Click to buy films starring Charlize Theron
Click to buy films starring Christina Ricci

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.