Monster Cover Women are normally known for being the more nurturing out of the two sexes, right? They are warm by nature. Pleasing by sight. And always a joy to behold. However, what if this character portrait was reversed? And the woman in question was some sort of... errr... Monster? Well, to answer this question, why don't you ask Director: Patty Jenkins; and Actors: Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci. But primarily in the year 2003, and for only 109 minutes.


Despite being a homeless prostitute living out of a disused lock-up, Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron) still thought that her life would change around when she fell in love with a fellow lesbian called Selby Wall (Christina Ricci).

But no. She was wrong. Even though they both fought against adversity, parental chastisement, and idol chatter, nothing seemed to work out too well for them one little bit. In fact, things become so financially dire for both Aileen and Selby, Aileen has to resort to becoming a more hands on prostitute, just so she can make ends meet.

Ops! Bad move.

No. Not just bad. Dismal. Bloody dismal. Especially when Aileen is then forced to shoot dead one of her stray clients when he attempts to rape her, thus spiralling her life right out of control. 

Granted, she does try to rectify this situation by quitting prostitution and getting a regular job type job. But do you honestly think that anybody would give this ex-con half a chance? No. I'm afraid not. She's shunned by society. Shunned and led to go back to her usual profession, where -- you guessed it -- she starts to kill for cash and love. 

Still, I suppose that is why what next transpires is a very emotional set of circumstances indeed. As lovers reveal - lovers drift - lovers incriminate - lovers cry - and lovers will never do but die.

Prior to watching ‘Monster', I knew quite a bit about the Aileen Wuornos murder-spree from a couple of documentaries I watched made by Nick Broomfield. Now from my point of view, these programs highlighted a different aspect of Aileen's life. As it mainly focused on the aftereffects of her crimes, as well as a back-story of who she was before these sad series of events occurred.

Christina Ricci in Monster
However, unlike these documentary's, 'Monster' presents the other side of this equation. It primarily revolves around the time of the killings, and it chronicles a first hand dramatic perspective of what really went on.

Admittedly, a hint of Aileen’s ‘back story’ was on display during the title-sequence, plus the numerous voice-over narrations.

Yet, by in large it was a tale primarily focused on that 'one year period', whilst documenting Aileen's relationship with her 'close personal friend', Selby Wall.

Monster Movie Poster
Here, check out this trivia splurge for a bit of what I already know about Aileen Wuornos. (1) It is believed that Aileen's Grandfather and Father are one and the same person, and that he abused her as a child. (2) Aileen hands became permanently frost-bitten, because in her teenage years she was living out on the street in the freezing cold weather. (3) For a brief period, Aileen was married to a man much older than her, living the domestic life in Daytona Beach. This didn't last long though. She turned lesbian. He turned dead. Naturally: of course. (4) Before she was caught by the police, Aileen was in a relationship with a man, and living out of the same place she was eventually captured from, 'The Last Resort' bar. (5) When she was alive, Aileen didn't want to talk about her crimes, because she thought that the police was going to sell her story for movie deals and books. However, the day before she was executed, she gave her next to kin permission to pass on her tale to the director of this film, Patty Jenkins. (6) In real life the character Christina plays is actually called Tyria Moore. It was changed for legal reasons. (7) The elderly gentlemen who plays Aileen's friend in this movie, is actually a representation of many of her urban pals condensed down into one character. (8) Coincidence or not? Aileens true birthday falls upon a leap-year -- the 29th of February -- which was the exact same day Charlize won her Oscar for portraying her in this bio-pic.

Aileen Wuornos and Charlize Theron

Personally speaking, I felt that this dramatic perspective was the best way of presenting this part of Aileens story. As in many ways it was more in-depth and personal in tone. Moreover, what I liked most about ‘Monster’, was how there was no judgmental stance where Aileen's actions were concerned, and just highlighted what she had done, rather than paint a sympathetic / un-sympathetic portrait of what this ‘female serial killer’ was all about.

Aileen Wuornos
Furthermore, I have to give kudos to all the women associated with 'Monster' as well. 

Charlize Theron gave a ‘De Niro’ performance throughout this entire flick, literally transforming herself  both in appearance and in attitude. Heck, I sometimes found it hard to believe that this was the same person that I wanted to whack off to in all those perfume ads!

As for Christina Ricci on the other hand -- wow -- what a transformation for her too. Not visually. Agreed. But her naivety and demeanor in this film is so contradictory to her normal ‘sexual minx’ demeanor.

And finally, the director of this film, Patty Jenkins, well, good on you girl. She lavishes the screen with truth, and does not rely on her cast’s sexual appearance one iota to massage these proceedings. In addition to this, she allows all sexually provocative scenes to play out contradictory to the norm, making them appear somewhat natural and tender in content.

Clarlize and Ricci in Monster

Overall, 'Monster' is a very nice and well made portrait of a serial killer type film. It respects the story. It respects the characters. Plus it respects the audience by showing them the truth, and allows for every person to think for themselves on who was right or who was wrong.

Society? Aileen? America? Nobody? Or Everybody?

You decide. Nuff said.


MONSTER MONSTER Reviewed by David Andrews on January 13, 2012 Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.