7.1/10
75,439
525 user 153 critic

Monster's Ball (2001)

R | | Drama, Romance | 1 March 2002 (USA)
After a family tragedy, a racist prison guard reexamines his attitudes while falling in love with the African American wife of the last prisoner he executed.

Director:

Reviews
Popularity
2,327 ( 323)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Taylor Simpson ...
Lucille
Gabrielle Witcher ...
Betty
...
Amber Rules ...
Vera
...
Charles Cowan Jr. ...
Willie Cooper
Taylor LaGrange ...
Darryl Cooper
...
Ryrus Cooper (as Mos Def)
Anthony Bean ...
Dappa Smith
...
Georgia Ann Paynes
...
...
Phil Huggins
...
Tommy Roulaine
...
Booter
Edit

Storyline

Set in the Southern United States, 'Monster's Ball' is a tale of a racist white man, Hank, who falls in love with a black woman named Leticia. Ironically Hank is a prison guard working on Death Row who executed Leticia's husband. Hank and Leticia's interracial affair leads to confusion and new ideas for the two unlikely lovers. Written by Anna <annachan@amazon.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A lifetime of change can happen in a single moment.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, language and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 March 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El pasado nos condena  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$174,109, 30 December 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$31,252,964, 2 June 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (unrated director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The part ultimately played by Sean Combs was initially offered to Jeffrey Wright and Don Cheadle. See more »

Goofs

Credits list special thanks to Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Georgia (not Louisiana). See more »

Quotes

Warden Velesco: Lawrence Musgrove, do you have anything you'd like to say?
Lawrence Musgrove: [after a pause he shakes his head] Push da button.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to Sam, Austin, Gabrielle. Scott Lambert is thanked twice. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Chase Australia: Episode #2.61 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Your Love Is My Rest
(1995)
Performed by Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Written by John Hiatt
Published by Careers-BMG Music Publishing, Inc.
Courtesy of Rounder Records
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Halle Berry's shining moment
27 July 2002 | by See all my reviews

Independent filmmaking is alive and well and evident in Monster's Ball. This film had a minuscule $4 million budget, a terrific script and a director not afraid to take some risks. Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry practically donated their time they were paid so little. The result is a powerful and disturbing film that walked off with a boatload of awards, not the least of which was a best actress Oscar for Berry.

Director Marc Forster conjures a forceful presentation with stark sets, next to nothing in the way of props and other set decoration, and a non existent soundtrack. Forster does it with innovative use of the camera, sharp editing and most importantly excellent actor direction. Forster could have done better at character development and the ending is nebulous and unsatisfying, but these shortcomings can be partially forgiven for the films many assets.

This is an actors' showcase, with outstanding performances all around. Heath Ledger makes a short but intense appearance as the son that Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) despises. Ledger pumps the character full of repressed anger and disappointment, simultaneously resenting him and seeking his father's approval. Peter Boyle is despicable as Hank's bigoted and self centered father. Billy Bob Thornton delivers his best performance since `Sling Blade' with a complex character torn between his prejudices and his attraction to Leticia (Halle Berry).

Of course the big story here is Halle Berry. Berry shows once again that she is not just another pretty face. I first took serious notice of her after seeing her performance in `Introducing Dorothy Dandridge', a little seen TV movie in which she won both a Golden Globe and an Emmy. After that marvelous dramatic performance, I was surprised that she couldn't land roles any better than `Swordfish' and `X-Men', which tapped nothing more substantial than her looks.

In this film, Berry is sexy and alluring, but these are only incidental attributes. She displays a full range of emotions from vibrant elation and unbridled passion, to utter despondency. She practically rips her heart out and throws it at the camera. She can convey volumes with a single look, or come completely unglued with equal impact. Her Oscar for this performance was richly deserved and had nothing to do with her race as so many have rationalized. She just flat out won it going away. As good as Nicole Kidman was in `Moulin Rouge', it wasn't even close.

This is an excellent film that is worth seeing for the acting alone. I rated it a 9/10. It is a compelling and deeply disturbing drama that serious film lovers will surely enjoy.


105 of 131 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 525 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page