Let me begin by saying that Charlize Theron gives the best female performance that I have ever seen on film. Theron deservedly won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos. I can not recall a performance, male or female, with such raw intensity. For those who may not know, MONSTER is the true story of Aileen Wuornos, a Florida prostitute who was executed a couple of years ago for killing men that picked her up on the highway. However, this is much, much more than a deranged serial killer flick. This film shows us, very convincingly, how a person can be led to a life of violence. Aileen had an awful childhood and an awful life. She was molested as a child by her father as well as other male relatives. As a child, she was surrounded by abuse, drug addiction, and domestic violence. Men horribly abused her as a child, and she began prostituting at age thirteen. In her later years, Aileen became a prostitute because it had been grilled into her head all her life that she was just a whore. As MONSTER opens, Aileen's car breaks down and she wanders into what she doesn't know is a gay bar. Sitting alone at a table is lonely, confused lesbian Selby (Christina Ricci), who strikes up a conversation with the dirty, unkempt Aileen, who washes her hair in gas station sinks and uses the hand dryer to fix her hair. After many drinks, Aileen and Selby become close, and soon enter into an unhealthy, torrid, tragic love affair. Selby is naive and has always been sheltered, and she just wants genuine love. However, Aileen has issues that Selby doesn't see at first. There is certainly nothing positive or redeeming about serial killers, but you often feel yourself having a small bit of sympathy for Aileen because you realize why she kills the men who pick her up...SHE HATES MEN. Aileen has always hated men, and the only love scenes in which any tenderness and emotion is shown are the lesbian love scenes between Aileen and Selby. You also feel some sorrow for Aileen because she DOES want to improve herself, but has no way of knowing how to do so. There are scenes where Aileen applies for jobs because she really wants to do right, but she is always rejected. She applies for secretarial jobs at law offices and is laughed right out of the building while she curses and screams at everyone. She doesn't know any better because she has no social skills. In one of the most powerful scenes, Aileen is hitch hiking and is picked up by a genuinely nice man who offers to help her. He is sincere and doesn't want sex. He is a decent man who offers a helping hand, but Aileen just can not trust any man. She tells him she doesn't want to kill him, but because her previous killings are all over the news, she has to kill him so she won't be identified. Selby, meanwhile, learns of Aileen's murderous rampage and tearfully decides to go to the authorities. What makes this film so powerful is that this is A TRUE STORY. Aileen Wuornos had a miserable life. Life dealt her a s@@@@y hand. She never had a chance. Growing up, nobody....teachers, parents, relatives....reached out to her. You can't excuse a serial killer rampage, but this is the only "serial killer" film that I have seen that at least offers some reasoning behind the insanity. Again, this is intense, and Charlize Theron is AMAZING.