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
Angela Bassett purportedly turned down the role of Leticia, stating "I wasn't going to be a prostitute on film..." However, Lions Gate Production President Michael Paseornek and the film's producer Lee Daniels rebut Bassett stating that she was never even offered the role, and was already committed to another film. See more »
(at around 1h 30 mins) When Leticia is working in the diner she puts the glass top back on the cake stand twice. See more »
"Monster's Ball" is the fourth of the 2001 movies for grown-ups about adults dealing with death. Here the main characters find redemption through personal relationships and provide hope.
While some in the audience complained it was too slow, the original script by Milo Addica and Will Rokos feels like an expansion of a short story, as the outlines of the plot are fairly simple and not all the back story is explained, and riddled with coincidences barely made feasible by taking place in a small town.
Director Marc Forster finds a way to visually communicate the difference between sex and intimacy.
But the actors fill the spaces of inarticulate characters with complex performances, not just award-winning Halle Berry (a long way from "X Men"). Billy Bob Thornton starts out slightly less laconic than in "The Man Who Wasn't There" but very gradually finds the ability and a reason to smile.
Less attention has been paid to the excellence in smaller roles by Heath Ledger (yes hunky Heath) and Peter Boyle.
Country music is used in the background only when the radio is on; it's a nice local station they got there that plays Jimmie Dale Gilmore.
(originally written 2/17/2002)
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