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Crime . Drama . Biography

Aileen Wuornos is an emotionally scarred highway hooker who shoots a sadistic trick who rapes her and ultimately becomes America's first female serial killer. The film, based on a true story, centers more on the surrounding circumstances than on the murders.

Actors: Catherine Mangan , T. Robert Pigott , Stephan Jones , Marc Macaulay , Annie Corley , Lee Tergesen , Bruce Dern , Christina Ricci , Charlize Theron
Directors: Patty Jenkins
Country: USA , GERMANY
Release: 2004-01-30
More Info:
  • Roger Ebert

    This is one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    This is harsh and acid stuff, but it's exhilarating on a number of counts. For one thing, Jenkins moves with real authority between scenes of low life, tender intimacy and gripping violence; made on the cheap, her film has the iron certainty of the best art.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Mark Sells

    A film that you can appreciate, but it’s also one that may be difficult to watch. Because it is so course, because it is so authentic, and because the characters are so real, you feel a closeness to Lee that may be uncomfortable.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Monster is a compassionate picture without any obvious agenda. And it's effective precisely because it's not a polemic. Full Review
  • Gregory Weinkauf

    This is a powerhouse of a film, but not for the obvious reasons that it's about a female serial killer, scampering lesbians and whatever. The project's strength instead emerges from a sense of nobility and purpose in honoring its characters.

    Dallas Observer Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    Theron has rendered herself 100 percent unrecognizable. Not since Robert De Niro morphed into hulk dimensions to play heavyweight boxer Jake La Motta in "Raging Bull" has there been a transformation this powerful and effective.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Stanley Kauffmann

    It is Theron who transmutes and sustains this journey through the lower depths.

    The New Republic Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    Doesn’t provide any answers, and that’s both its strength and weakness.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    A compelling, thought-provoking, and unsettling drama.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Kirk Honeycutt

    Challenges audiences with an unrelieved portrait of self-destruction and horrific violence. American movies don't get much grimmer than this.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Rick Kisonak

    Jenkins' film ranks as one of the past year's very best. Like "In Cold Blood," "The Onion Field" and "Dead Man Walking" before it, her picture provides a mesmerizing portrait of the human side of evil.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Anna Smith

    There’s enough dark humour to entertain.

    Empire Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Theron breaks through with a ferocious performance--a real career-changer.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    In her feature-film debut, writer-director Patty Jenkins combines the gritty, claustrophobic neo-realism of "Dahmer" with the unlikely gutter romanticism of "Boys Don't Cry," creating a haunting portrait of how a person can feel so desperate and hopeless that murdering for a few crumpled bills and maybe a beat-up car can begin to seem like a reasonable option.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    An okay movie made nearly great by one great thing: the bravura, mercilessly watchable performance of Charlize Theron.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    There's Theron, like a force of nature, compelling us to go beyond TV-movie supposition and look Wuornos straight in the eye. Her raw and riveting performance makes Monster an experience you won't forget.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Michael Wilmington

    I don't think it's a great movie -- though Theron's is a near-great performance -- but it's not one you can easily forget.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • David Sterritt

    If you can endure watching it, you won't forget this grim cautionary tale for a long time.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Theron's transformation in Monster goes far beyond mere appearance. As Wuornos, the actress gets to display a blunt, graceless physicality that is rarely needed in women's roles, which are traditionally internal.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Jami Bernard

    Any which way you describe this uncompromising movie, it will never sound palatable. Still, it features one of the most spectacular physical transformations by an actress hungry for a meaty role. I haven't used the term "tour de force" in all of 2003, but now it is time.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Megan Lehmann

    Jenkins doesn't stint on the sickening reality of Wuornos' abhorrent behavior -- it's Theron's complex, deeply felt depiction of a thoroughly messed-up soul that forces us to look beyond the monstrous nature of her acts.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Monster brings the horror stories of everyday life down to a recognizable level -- even as the actress inhabiting that story remains startlingly unrecognizable.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Carla Meyer

    Theron is nearly unrecognizable in the role. She's also astonishingly good. Obscuring the movie star has liberated the actress.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    A gruesome, helpless spiral barely saved by an actress locating humanity where few would have cared to bother.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    As angry, deluded, vulnerable and confused as Aileen is, the character remains an enigma. Apart from serving as an opportunity for Theron's emotionally deep-dredging performance, the movie doesn't know why it exists.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Writer-director Patty Jenkins makes an impressive debut, showing savvy that often eludes old pros.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    In Monster Theron undergoes one of the most startling transformations in the history of movies.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Sean Axmaker

    It's the kind of stunt that gets Oscar nominations and accolades. Theron turns it into a raw, bristling performance that deserves them.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Ella Taylor

    This gifted actress (Charlize Theron), who hasn't always chosen her roles well, treats this as her big chance to show what she can do, and she's convincing enough that you're not constantly looking for a Hollywood star of more than average pulchritude under all the cosmetic baggage.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Stephen Holden

    The movie's biggest disappointment is the vague, unfocused performance of Ms. Ricci, an actress known for taking risky, unsympathetic roles. Here she seems somewhat intimidated by her character.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • David Rooney

    Gritty and compelling as Monster is, the script's not entirely satisfying elaboration of the central relationship and Ricci's somewhat ungiving performance limit the material to that of a superior telemovie rather than something emotionally richer, like "Boys Don't Cry."

    Variety Full Review
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum

    Honest curiosity and observation are what make this work, and in this respect Christina Ricci (as Wuornos's lover, Selby Wall) is almost as good as Theron.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Glenn Kenny

    Proves more irksome than moving.

    Premiere Full Review
  • Maitland McDonagh

    Ricci's less flashy characterization of the immature Selby is equally skilled and meshes seamlessly with Theron's uncompromising performance.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Laura Sinagra

    Theron's empathetic victim-wrath and elemental female outrage almost trump the otherwise cartoonish gender-bending and award-grubbing po' folk put-on.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Apart from Theron and Christina Ricci as her lover, there's nothing in Monster that rises above the level of doggedly well-meaning, although the film is worth seeing for the acting and as a sort of palate-teaser for Broomfield and Churchill's documentary.

    Slate Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    Falls victim to flimsy characters and a love story that strains reality.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    Phony choppers and a startling resemblance to Jon Voight aren't enough to transform Theron into Wuornos, and I didn't buy either the performance or the character for a second.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • David Denby

    If the notoriously squeamish and slumberous members of the Academy can pull themselves together and face Monster, they should know whom to vote for as the best actress of the year. [26 January 2004, p. 84]

    The New Yorker Full Review
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