A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States -- Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit.
In 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case. While researching for his novel In Cold Blood, Capote forms a relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, who is on death row.
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Clifton Collins Jr.,
A dark tale based on the true story of Aileen Wuornos, one of America's first female serial killers. Wuornos had a difficult and cruel childhood plagued by abuse and drug use in Michigan. She became a prostitute by the age of thirteen, the same year she became pregnant. She eventually moved to Florida where she began earning a living as a highway prostitute--servicing the desires of semi-truck drivers. The tale focuses on the nine month period between 1989 and 1990, during which Wuornos had a lesbian relationship with a woman named Selby. And during that very same time, she also began murdering her clientèle in order to get money without using sex. This turned the tables on a rather common phenomenon of female highway prostitutes being the victims of serial killers--instead Wuornos, herself, carried out the deeds of a cold-blooded killer. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I sometimes wonder why more people can't be nice. I wonder why the sins of the father have to plague the lives of his children. Why people rape, abuse, hurt, and maim. In a perfect world everyone would be happy. In a perfect world no one would ever want. In a perfect world a women like Aileen Wurnos would not have been sentenced to die on death row, and in a real world I wouldn't have to write about a movie like MONSTER. It's a movie that drips with exceptional performances, and yet leaves your soul so cold to the core.
MONSTER is the tragic true story of a woman who longed for a friend, and nobody came to her aid. It stars Charlize Theron (The Devil's Advocate) as Aileen Wurnos, one of the first women to ever die on death row. Of course the film doesn't begin that way, when we first meet her she's sitting in the rain with a gun contemplating ending it all. You see she's has no future. She has nothing but a past that's not worth repeating, and all she has in the world is in a storage locker. What little money she has, is gained by being a prostitute. But one day in a little bar in Daytona Beach, Florida she meets and falls for a woman that finally makes her happy.
The woman is named Selby (Christina Ricci, The Opposite of Sex), and she's a young lesbian just trying to figure out the world for herself. At first this relationship puts Aileen on cloud nine. She's willing to do anything to provide for the first person that ever loved her.
But one night when Aileen kills a john who gets a little to rough, a series of events take our characters on a one way trip with destiny. Leaving the landscape of these two women's lives are forever changed. If only someone had just been nice to Aileen.
MONSTER is not a happy film. It's one of those movies that leaves you dead at the end. You lose faith in humanity; you lose faith in yourself. I like these kinds of movies, cause they convict me. Here I am a young guy who sometimes gets ticked off at a driver in front of me on the road. For one split moment I have murderous anger when that guy cuts me off. What if I was in Aileen's situation? Would I do the same thing? I would hope not, but hey you never know.
If there is one performance that will tear you up inside this year, it's Theron's. For the entire movie you can hardly believe that this is, in real life, a beautiful women. Theron throws all the glamour out the window, gaining weight and frumping herself up to the point of being ugly. This is a complete 360 and she's so engrossing. She carries the film to heights. A lesser actress might turn in a wonderful performance, but Theron was Aileen. This is some brilliant acting.
I also give Kudos to Bruce Dern . His character has the distinction of being the only person who shows any real compassion for Aileen. While a small role it sticks out because it's the only real bit of bright light in an otherwise dark and gloomy picture.
The screenplay by Patty Jenkins (Who also directed) does a great job of giving Aileen and those around her life. What Aileen did was reprehensible. What she did was evil, and she must pay for that. But it allows for sympathy. Not all evil is dark and black, and not all people who murder are 100% culpable. But yet you reap what you sow no matter what you're past.
MONSTER is a well-made, brilliantly acted film that's not for the weak of heart. It's engaging, engrossing, and realistic. I think I want to rush out and get the silliest comedy I can find right now, because I need something to offset the dark tone of this film. While it get a fine recommendation, I just hope that the next time you feel like treating someone like crap, you'll remember just how tragic the life of Aileen Wurnos turned tragic because nobody reached out.
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