America Cinema ‚" Art 1145
February 27th, 2019
Film Review: Monster
Basic Information: (director, writer, key players, producer)
Director: Patty Jenkins
Writer: Patty Jenkins
Producer: Charlize Theron, Mark Damon, Clark Peterson, Donald Kushner, and Brad Wyman
- Aileen Wuornos- Charlize Theron
- Selby Wall- Christina Ricci
Brief story description:
The film, Monster, was based on a true story of a women in the 1980‚(TM)s who killed a total of (6) six men. Aileen Wuornos was played by beautiful Charlize Theron. She won countless awards for her role in the film. The film begins by showing Aileen barley getting by in life, selling herself for sex in exchange for cash that never lasted long. Weather at a bar, getting picked up on the side of the road, or being driven ‚home,‚? she always found ways to seduce men into having sexual intercourse. The viewers are showed glimpses of her being young girls and always wanting to be someone great with all eyes on her. Some may say this led to her need for attention from men. Soon later in the film she meets her new lover, only this time it was a woman. After letting down her own mind barrier of the idea she may be homosexual, her and her lover, Selby Wall, quickly fell into a sex strung relationship whom Aileen loved. During her confusion in changing sexuality, Aileen continued to sell her body for money to live on. However, during one of these events, she felt as though she was being raped which led to her killing him. From this moment on, during a one-year time span, she killed (7) seven men in what she thought was self-defense. Throughout the film, Aileen never truly came to the realization that she was a murderer. This is because the viewers were repeatedly shown how she justifies the murders as bringing justice to those who rape. It was a truly heart wrenching film that made my stomach turn the entire time. Aileen was later executed in a Florida prison for her actions.
Production highlights (positive or negative):
The highlight of this film I believe is when she first told herself that killing the first victim was this was the right thing to do and stopped that man from doing it to someone else.
I would recommend this film. Specifically, to someone looking for a movie watch with their family. Due to the relevance in how soon this occurred, it is weird knowing most of the people I know lived while this was happening.
Perfectly portrayed acting by Charlize Theron, easy to follow sequence of events, and beautifully directed by Patty Jenkins.
Writer: Patty Jenkins
Producer: Charlize Theron, Mark Damon, Clark Peterson, Brad Wyman and Donald Kushner
Key Characters: Aileen Wournos ‚" Charlize Theron
Christina Ricci ‚" Selby
Monster is based on the true story of Florida serial killer Aileen Wuornos who was sentenced in 2002 for the murder or 7 men. Director Patty Jenkins takes us through the troubled life from Aileen from the time she was a child; constantly seeking acceptance and her need for attention and recognition. Her rough upbringing, promiscuity and lack of education leads her to becoming a troubled hitch-hiking prostitute. In her journey, Aileen ends up in (unbeknownst to her) a gay bar where she meets Selby. Aileen and Selby develop a romantic relationship ‚" something Aileen has longed for her entire life (love and acceptance) and is willing to do anything for. After Selby goes against her family‚(TM)s wishes and decided to follow Aileen in her journey and build a life together, their relationship faces many ups and down since they are constantly struggling financially and lack stability. Despite Aileen‚(TM)s attempt to quit prostituting, her desperation to keep Selby and make her happy leads her back to it. It is during one of these instances when Aileen is confronted with a man who rapes her and nearly kills her. As she fights for her life in self-defense, she murders her first victim. It is this event that unleashes her killing spree and pattern of murdering her clients and stealing their cars. In a turn of chaotic events, after murdering 7 men in one year, Aileen Wournos is caught and arrested at a local bar.
The best production highlight is Charlize Theron‚(TM)s transformation to become Aileen Wuornos. From the hair, make-up, special effects and Charlize‚(TM)s ability to transform the way she speaks and carries herself. This alone solidifies her incredible talent as an actress. Her hard work and incredible performance won her the Best Actress in a Leading Role, Oscar in 2004. Another production highlight for me was the final scene of the movie which is a big reveal. As Aileen calls Selby from prison the camera, the scene changes and the camera Zooms into Selby while they‚(TM)re talking. As the conversation carries on, the camera zooms out to reveal that Selby is in a room with detectives and the conversation is being recorded. This and the conversation reveal to the audience that Aileen‚(TM)s love of her life has turned her back on her and is cooperating. This leads to the conviction and end of Aileen‚(TM)s life as we know today.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this movie. Real-life dramas are my favorite type pf movies. Patty Jenkins, screen writers, the production team and actors casted delivered an amazing film. As a movie should, this production was truly gripping.
Key Players: Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron), Selby Wall (Christina Ricci), Thomas (Bruce Dern), Vincent Corey (Lee Tergesen)
Producers: Charlize Theron, Mark Damon, Clark Peterson, Donald Kushner, Brad Wyman
The Movie ‚Monster‚? is a true story based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a woman in her early 40‚(TM)s whose anger for the cards life has dealt her result in prostitution, theft, and a serial killer of 7 men. To further complicate things, depicted in the movie is Aileen‚(TM)s first lesbian encounter with new-found lover Selby Wall, played by Christina Ricci who in her own feeble mind is struggling with her insecurities of coming out of the closet. This said, what is common to both of these women is there desperate need to fit in and search for true love. While a gruesome turn of events, Jenkins‚(TM), the director and writer, doe sa great balancing act presenting both sides of story line. In particular, the inner thinking of Aileen for the audience to gain insight as to what exactly the cards of life for Aileen looked like. In doing so, the unrecognizable beauty of Charlize Theron in-character is nowhere to be found. Jenkins removes all obstacles and barriers where Aileen Wuornos‚(TM) real-life hard knock experiences come to life and unfold on screen before one‚(TM)s eyes ‚" what a riveting transformation. Starting from the first scene of Theron under a highway bridge, soaking wet by the rainfall, and holding a gun in what looks like her final moments of despair. Jenkins sets the tone by Aileen (Theron) sharing inner thoughts about her not-so fond childhood memories. This subtle yet powerful technique is frequented throughout the story line as it allows the audience to gain an understanding of the pain and hardship Aileen has endured which could potentially explain the circumstances which could have influenced the decisions and choices she made or felt that she was force to make. While a key player, I didn‚(TM)t care much for Christina Ricci playing the role of Selby. Her awkward and out of sorts facial expressions and body language left me thinking that there could have been other female actors who could have done a better acting job. Vincent Corey (played by Lee Tergesen) is the man whose inappropriate behaviors and actions push Aileen to a new level of misdeeds where she wants all men to pay for those who mistreated and caused emotional and physical harm to her. Thomas (played by Bruce Dern) was a great add to the list of actors in this movie and a great reminder that everyone needs a helping friends. Through Thomas, Jenkins introduced a sympathetic caring friend to Aileen who despite knowing her inner demons, did not judge her. Thomas was a Vietnam Veteran who compared Aileen‚(TM)s circumstances to an individual with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Through their discussions, Aileen ‚" right or wrong ‚" rationalized in her mind that everything she did was because it needed to be done in order for her and Selby to survive. In my opinion, introduction of this character was brilliant as it enables one to make the connection with another group of individuals who struggle to fit in following their return from duty as well as those who suffer from mental illnesses. Strangely enough, I was left feeling sympathy for this lost woman whose heart seemed to be in doing the right thing but due to the forces of evil battling in her head, all odds seemed to be against her. Movie is emotionally draining and contains graphic violent scenes. Recommend viewing to learn about Aileen Wuornos‚(TM) real-life story which occurred in the state of Florida. A much noteworthy and great performance by Charlize Theron. Rating: 4.5 stars!
The film follows a middle-aged Aileen, choosing to skip over most of her life before, covering this time only with a quick childhood montage. This early production choice quickly establishes the intentionally narrow scope of the film. By focusing in on the love-story between Eileen (referred to endearingly as Lee) and her younger girlfriend Selby (Sel), Jenkins illustrates an intimate and genuinely moving love story wedged under the overarching portrait of a prostitute turned serial killer. While being sexually and physically assaulted by one of her clients, Eileen escapes and steals his revolver, killing him in self-defense. Her first kill is cathartic and defensible, a the audience roots for her as she drives away from the murder scene. This sense of support for Eileen is further aided by Theron‚(TM)s exceptionally convincing performance, who clearly empathizes with this stage in Wuornos life. After this encounter, we see a visible change in Eileen‚(TM)s attitude about the world. Wuornos has become bitter to other human beings, except for Sel, and she uses this attitude to justify her killings.
We see quick escalation from revenge murder to the killing of completely innocent men, causing the viewer to rethink their emotional sympathy for Eileen. Lee begins to seek out new victims and finds ways to justify her urge to kill in any way she can, projecting misogynistic views on innocent men. All of this amidst the beautiful love story of Lee and Sel, which offsets the horrible nature of Eileen‚(TM)s crime with a compelling romance. Selby, played by Christina Ricci, quickly becomes Lee‚(TM)s last connection to her human side, and Jenkin‚(TM)s constantly contrasts shots of her serial killer tendencies with her genuine love for Sel. By the end of the film, we lose our sense of sympathy for Eileen, but not for the love between her and Sel. We wish the two could stay together, but understand that Eileen must pay for her terrible crimes. The resulting ending is emotionally confusing yet potent. This film was produced by Denver & Deliah films, and written and directed by Patty Jenkins. I highly recommend this film as an honest portrayal of the development of a serial killer, however some viewers may find some of the more graphic scenes to be pretty shocking.
We must praise the script of the director Patty Jenkins, for the subtle nuances that introduces the story and its characters. But this success in the libretto partly eclipses his work as a filmmaker, that although it is justifiable to focus on a certain ugliness, does not interest his images, so the story could easily pass for being a telefilm, full of scenes and sordid relationships (the scenes of Aileen's crimes are overwhelming, it is difficult to keep your eyes on the screen). We can say, however, that the distance between Theron's interpretation and that of the co-star Christina Ricci is abysmal. This is limited to exposing a limited repertoire of expressions making his character unbearable, it is not known whether by this or by the interpretation of a lost Ricci, which seems to cost too much to recover his disheartened star. His scenes partly ballast the interest and rhythm of the film.
And then there's Charlize Theron. As much as it has been said of his characterization (very interesting to hear the actress reflect on this) her interpretation is simply impressive. His body becomes one more nuance of the characterization of a human that practically ceased to be, avoiding sentimentality and overacting. The actress' eyes turn into windows, at times hopeful, to a world that is awakened and emotionally arid. Her expressions, her way of looking and speaking, make her a wounded and childish animal and however cruel and possessive at times, that she hopes to find a way to take her forward and take her out of the spiral in which she finds herself. But that hope clashes with his true self, shown in the film through letters from Aileen herself, in which she reveals her self-destructive and realistic character, knowing, although she never accepts it, her only destiny: her own destruction. That an actress, in only two hours is able to reveal all this about a person, says a lot about his quality as an interpreter, as all the prizes around the world say
The film progresses with her making decent amounts of money by drawing in ‚~johns‚(TM) through prostitution, luring them to secluded areas, then killing and robbing them. Aileen is trying to save up enough money for her and Selby to move away together; at this point in the film they are living in a motel that she has been paying for. Selby was not aware of what specifically Aileen had been doing to make money and gain access to different cars periodically. Eventually after tension and an argument about their relationship, Aileen confesses to Selby about what she has been doing, but only tells her about the first murder, where she claimed self-defense. One day Selby is driving one of the cars Aileen stole, little to her knowledge, and they crash into someone‚(TM)s property. This is the first time a stolen car from one of the victims is able to be connected to Aileen and Selby. As they escape the scene of the accident, Aileen freaks out and its very concerned about the accident putting her on law enforcements radar. At this point she further confesses to Selby about the other murders she has been committing against aggressive violent ‚~johns‚(TM). As the film starts wrapping up, Aileen lures another victim into the woods and kills him just to find out he is a cop. She panics and rushes home to Selby to try and make a plan to move out of state. Ultimately, undercover cops put the pieces together identifying and arresting Aileen at a local bar. The film concludes with Selby being forced by law enforcement to inform on and pull a confession from Aileen. She successfully does this in a deal to prevent her own prosecution. Aileen‚(TM)s court case concludes with a death sentence, no matter her defense of being a rape victim.
‚~Monster‚(TM) was a well-produced film with effective use of scenes outlining the main character as an unstable aggressive individual. Charlize Theron played the role of Aileen Wuornos very well, truly bringing the pain and suffering this famous female serial killer had gone through to the audience‚(TM)s attention. The film was able to gain sympathy for the main character, as they developed ethical and moral dilemmas as the story progressed. Social issues are revealed regarding the blatant discrimination against homosexuals in Florida. The story was also able to draw attention to a social commentary about how she was able to continually commit murders until she by chance murdered a cop, which drew immediate attention and accelerated her capture, as well as increased her punishment to a death penalty versus life in prison sentence. Ultimately the production was able to successfully depict Aileen Wuornos as a victim as well as a serial killer.
My overall recommendation for the film ‚~Monster‚(TM) is worth while watching. I would recommended people watch this film if they enjoy romantic murder mysteries or stories about serial killers with a twist. I have never seen any other film based off of a true story on a female serial killer, truly a unique film in that respect. It was well produced written and directed, as it properly used dramatic effect and cinematography to portray a real life story to the audience. In conclusion, the film ‚~Monster‚(TM) is a good film worth watching.
I liked that Aileens character was physically unattractive. I felt the use of crooked teeth, facial weathering, and torn clothing to be suitable. There were many nice touches to Aileen‚(TM)s character which I liked. Her body language was shaped with great intent. She held bottles in an unusual manner, moved oddly, and breathed heavily out of her mouth. She behaved in ways that were consistent with someone with PSTD. She flinched or reacted strongly to physical touch. Causal violent behavior such as yelling and throwing things were consistent with a lack of emotional intelligence. I found these touches to her character to be shaped with great intent and executed with great care.
I felt that transitional moments in the film were handled with great care. In the beginning of the film, we see Aileen acting violently to touch. That shifts in the scene showcasing Aileen holding hands with Selby. Another transitional moment I found to be nicely placed is when we see the sunrise right before seeing picture of Aileen and Selby in the newspaper. This dawn seemed to mark the dawn of a new chapter in the story. I found these transitional moment to be very clear. This clarity made this film very coherent.
I liked the writing that hinted at the idea that Aileen‚(TM)s violence was an effect of circumstance. Mid way through the film, the older woman Selby is staying with hints that some people are simply lesser than the rest. That people cannot simply excuse their behaviors due to things that have happened to them. Later in the film Thomas mentions to Aileen that he feels that her situation is like that of a war veteran; entirely circumstantial. I enjoyed those moments because it did provide a kind of guidance in the storyline.
I did feel that Aileen‚(TM) driving capabilities were odd since she was supposed to have been homeless in her adult life.
Overall, I recommend this film. I would though, not advise that this film be watched by people who may be triggered by scenes of rape.
The movie Monster, based on a true story about a women serial killer was directed and written by Patty Jenkins. It was produced by K/W Productions and Denver and Delilah Films. This movie remembers the life of serial killer Aileen Wuornos who worked as a prostitute before being executed for killing a half a dozen men in 2002. In the movie, Charlize Theron, who plays Aileen beings her relationship with a woman named Selby in a gay bar on a rainy night. Aileen goes home with Selby that night and realizes this was God‚(TM)s sign to her in her deepest depression that everything was going to be okay. After this, Aileen tries to straighten out her life but fails terribly at every angle and begins working as a hooker. Her first kill was in self-defense but it sparks her kill spree, in which she robs clients of their money and car and blames it on self-defense. In my opinion, one of the best production highlights for me was just seeing Charlize‚(TM)s transformation into Aileen. The makeup, skin, hair, fake teeth, wardrobe and weight gain is absolutely astonishing to see on camera. She doesn‚(TM)t just play the character; she truly embodies her.
I also really liked the scene in the bowling alley where Aileen analyzes all of the men and what she thinks that they would want in bed. I thought it was interesting start to be able to see inside Aileen‚(TM)s mind and how smart she really is regarding men and addressing their wants. Then, she kisses Selby for the first time on roller skates and I believe this is when she realizes she has fallen in love with her. This is a pivotal highlight in the movie that worked for me because in Aileen‚(TM)s eyes, you can see the love and embodiment of the character, which is so intense that it‚(TM)s almost like you forget it‚(TM)s a movie or like she forgets it‚(TM)s a movie. It is also the moment she tries to become a better person because this feeling of love has inspired her so much. But ultimately, this doesn‚(TM)t work and her need for money/adrenaline overpowers her need for love. Overall, I would recommend this movie to anyone wanting to see phenomenal acting skills or for people interested on movies based on true stories about real world problems.
(Full review TBD)