Monster (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Monster (2004)



Critic Consensus: Charlize Theron gives a searing, deglamorized performance as real life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, an intense, disquieting portrait of a profoundly damaged soul.

Movie Info

Model-turned-actress Charlize Theron leaves her glamorous image behind for this gritty drama, in which she plays a disturbed prostitute who becomes a serial killer. Aileen Wuornos (Theron) was a woman who survived a brutal and abusive childhood in Michigan to become a thick-skinned but emotionally damaged adult. Homeless most of her life, Wuornos subsisted by working as a street prostitute; later, when she was in Florida, down to her last five dollars and pondering suicide, she stopped into a bar for a beer. There, Aileen met Selby Wall (Christina Ricci), a woman in her early twenties who had been sent to live with relatives after her Christian parents became aware of her lesbian lifestyle. Selby is immediately attracted to Aileen, and while Aileen tells Selby she's never been in a lesbian relationship, she soon finds herself equally infatuated with her. Selby runs away from her family and moves into a cheap hotel with Aileen, who initially pays the bills by hooking. However, as their money runs low and Aileen finds herself unable to land a regular job, tensions mount between the two. One night, after a john attacks her, Aileen pulls a gun and kills the man. Although her first murder can be categorized as self-defense, Aileen's loathing for the men who pay her for sex becomes so extreme that she begins killing her customers regardless of their behavior. Meanwhile, Selby slowly becomes aware of the full extent of her lover's instability and the bloody consequences of her actions. Monster was inspired by the true story of Aileen Wuornos, whose life and death was chronicled in two documentaries by filmmaker Nick Broomfield, Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, and Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Charlize Theron
as Aileen Wuornos
Christina Ricci
as Selby Wall
Bruce Dern
as Thomas
Scott Wilson
as Horton (Last John)
Pruitt Taylor Vince
as Gene (Stuttering John)
Lee Tergesen
as Vincent Corey
Annie Corley
as Donna Tentler
Marc Macaulay
as Will Grueser
Brett Rice
as Charles
Robb Chamberlain
as Lead Prosecutor
Chandra Leigh
as Cute Teenager Attendant
Tim Ware
as Chuck
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News & Interviews for Monster

Critic Reviews for Monster

All Critics (190) | Top Critics (50)

Powerful, painful for mature audiences only.

December 26, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

With the exception of Charlize Theron's masterful performance as Wuornos, the film is a misguided mess.

May 4, 2005 | Rating: C | Full Review…

I can forgive the Oscar- winning makeover, but not the script-doctored romance

April 15, 2004 | Full Review…

Theron offers a tender performance of fractured humanity, while Ricci -- in the less showy role -- also impresses.

April 6, 2004 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

That Theron rises to the challenge is remarkable; the challenge for audiences will be to avoid confusing a great performance with a great movie.

January 27, 2004 | Rating: 3/5

Ms. Theron has ventured far beyond mere surface impersonation -- although that is startling enough -- to an insightful penetration of her subject's psyche.

January 21, 2004

Audience Reviews for Monster

Patty Jenkins does a bang up job writing and directing this thumbnail bio based on the eye popping true story about a hooker turned serial killer. Charlize Theron really gets into the skin of a soul abused for years and violently desperate for any kind of real affection, and Christina Ricci so inhabits the role as the vessel of that affection that I began to hate the truth depicted in their relationship. Overall a visceral film experience, not for the faint of heart.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Driven heavily by the milestone acting of Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci, "Monster" is a showcase of talent for many Oscar seasons to come. Actresses all around the world should look up to Charlize Theron in this film, not to say that every actress should play this role, because films would be hard to watch if more were like this. This is the type of film I would recommend to someone if they are looking for brilliant performances over an engaging story. Not to say that the story is not terrific, because it is, but the way that it is presented, is unnecessarily brutal. It is a very graphic film, so I recommend with caution. The writing is very good in this film, the sets feel perfect for the tone of the film, the director definitely takes his time in the moments that count, and the casting of Charlize Theron, again, is beyond out of this world. It is a scary film to watch at times, but it is a perfect portrayal of this true story. It's not a perfect film overall, but it is a great one! I definitely recommend it, but please watch with a strong stomach.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Amazing performances by the two leads makes this a film you'll never forget.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

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