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Monster (2003)

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Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.


Patty Jenkins


Patty Jenkins
836 ( 675)

Charlize Theron: Movie & TV Moments

Charlize Theron won an Oscar for her performance as Aileen Wuornos in Monster, but what are some of her other award-worthy performances?

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 29 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlize Theron ... Aileen
Christina Ricci ... Selby
Bruce Dern ... Thomas
Lee Tergesen ... Vincent Corey
Annie Corley ... Donna
Pruitt Taylor Vince ... Gene / Stuttering "John"
Marco St. John ... Evan / Undercover "John"
Marc Macaulay ... Will / Daddy "John"
Scott Wilson ... Horton / Last "John"
Rus Blackwell ... Cop
Tim Ware ... Chuck
Stephan Jones ... Lawyer
Brett Rice ... Charles
Kaitlin Riley Kaitlin Riley ... Teenage Aileen
Cree Ivey Cree Ivey ... 7-Year-Old Aileen


The true story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos who was convicted of luring men to their death and eventually executed in 2002. In 1989, she was working as a prostitute and finally makes a friend when she meets and begins a relationship with a young woman, Selby. Determined to straighten out her life, she tries to find legitimate work but with little education and limited social skills, she fails at every turn. She starts working as a hooker hitching rides along the local interstate highway and after robbing a few clients has an encounter with a vicious client whom she kills in self-defense. After that however she just takes to killing clients taking their money and car. Once arrested she claims self-defense but is eventually convicted. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The first female serial killer of America See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Germany | USA



Release Date:

30 January 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Monster See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »


Box Office


$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$86,831, 28 December 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Aileen Wuornos, a notoriously uncooperative person, gave Writer and Director Patty Jenkins access to hundreds of letters she had written and received in order to gain insight into Aileen's life. See more »


Aileen comes back to the motel and finds Selby cutting off her cast in the bathroom. A can of beer is on the dresser in front of the mirror, and the lamp on the table is on. When they leave the bathroom, the beer is gone and the light is off. See more »


[first lines]
Aileen: I always wanted to be in the movies.
Aileen: When I was little I thought for sure that one day, I could be a big, big star. Or maybe just beautiful... beautiful and rich, like the women on TV. Yeah, I had a lot of dreams. And I guess you can call me a real romantic, because I truly believe that one day, they'll come true. So I dreamed about it for hours. As the years went by, I learnt to stop sharing them with people. They said I was dreaming. But back then, I believed it...
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Featured in A Life in Film (2007) See more »


What You Need
Written by Andrew Farriss, Michael Hutchence
Performed by INXS
Courtesy of Universal Records, Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
Under License from WB Music Corp.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The real Monster of this movie? The soundtrack! Hooooooooh!
5 March 2004 | by raptor_2See all my reviews

Okay, seriously, i needed a bit of comedy before reviewing this dark, serious movie about murder and human nature.

"Monster", as most of you know, is the story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, physically ugly; abused as a child, living as a prostitute, falling in love with another woman, and killing men. An upbeat film this is not.

As much has been said about Theron's performance as Aileen, I won't comment too much. I will, however, make the joke that she got an oscar just for looking ugly! Seriously though, she doesn't just look like Lee, but she lives and breathes as Lee. Just watching the littlest facial quirk, the way she holds and moves her body, all I could think of wasn't who was playing her or how amazing the make up was, but just about the character. That's why she's so good in this. The rest of the cast is okay, with Christina Ricci playing against type as a needy lesbian who stands by and allows Lee to kill, becoming something of a monster herself.

Another thing to comment on, is that this isn't called "Monster" because Godzilla's in it. My friends and I commented that there were maybe 2 nice people in the entire film. This movie is dark and depressing. Now, we've got a macabre sense of humor, but after seeing this, it took a while for some jokes to seem funny again.

Of course, this leads into just how realistic is the movie to life and the events surrounding it? Some people have claimed that the film misinterprets some of the victims, and that it over-sympathizes with Lee. And then there's what I said about there being maybe 2 redeemable human beings in the whole thing, with self-righteous religious stereotypes in it as well.

I believe the movie is that way for a purpose. I can't defend the misinterpreting of some of the victims, but other things I can. Notice how the film is narrated from Lee's point of view. And since it's from her messed up, murderous point of view, wouldn't most of humanity seem irredeemable? And wouldn't she play us, the audience, her jury, for sympathy?

This movie is so successful because when I left the theater, I was made because I figured I had just seen another psycho-liberal movie bashing religious people and the death sentence, among other things. But as I left and talked with others, I realized that that's how I'm SUPPOSED to feel: the movie is told from Lee's point of view, of her trying to justify her horrible actions by making people see her view of how bad the world is and how much a victim she is. The filmmakers want me to get mad at her, to not agree with her. If they didn't, if the filmmakers really wanted people to feel sorry for Lee, they wouldn't have called it "Monster". Looking back on it, i see how the directing, the writing, and the few really innocent people in the film were put there to make me feel a certain way. Excellently done! They were so successful I didn't notice until long after the movie was over.

That said, aside from being depressing enough to bring down a guy high on ecstasy, the movie's main flaw is the music. The orchestral music is okay, but some of the songs, like the one they play when Lee and Selby are cuddling, made me want to kill someone! And the guitar sound that starts to play before their tastefully shot sex scene sounded like 70's porn music, i kid you not. But man, if that was meant to be funny, i sure needed it, because nothing else in this movie is a laughing matter.

Alltogether, sorry Lee, but I only empathize with you. I would probably found you guilty as well. If the way you were treated by the first guy was accurate in the film, and you had turned yourself in, I'd have found you not-guilty, it being self defense. But you couldn't stop, or wouldn't, and tried to hide it. Besides, lots of people who do get raped and abused as kids don't go out and kill.

"Monster" is an incredibly, subtly effective film, but definitely not for the faint of heart. It's more "Henry" than "Hannibal". But, for those who can take it, or enjoy studying the darker aspects of humanity in a serious light, gather your courage and see "Monster".

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