Starring: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci
Director: Patty Jenkins
In an Academy Award-winning and spellbinding performance, Charlize Theron practically disappears into the role of Aileen Wuornos, the serial-killing monster of the film’s title. Hiding behind an army of freckles and a set of yellow dental prosthetics, Theron, who put on an extra 30 pounds for this role, sparkles as the prostitute convicted in 1992 of killing seven men.
Wuornos (Theron) serves as the story’s narrator, first describing how her sexually abusive adolescence led to prostitution at the age of 13 and spawned the rage of her future murders. Later, we watch as her friendship with Selby (Christina Ricci), a local woman Wuornos met at a bar when her truck broke down, eventually develops into a lesbian relationship. Then, after narrowly escaping an attempted rape by shooting the deranged client, Wuornos feels liberated by her act of survival and kills a series of immoral men, using her years of abuse and prostitution as an unending source of motivation.
Director Patty Jenkins treats the subject matter behind “Monster” carefully enough to project the desired image of Wuornos, but in the end, the film’s lack of a compassionate protagonist makes it tough for the audience to really connect with the story. The merely ordinary storytelling is saved by Charlize Theron, whose portrayal of the murderous Aileen Wuornos is lyrically captivating as she submerses herself into the 1980 Daytona Beach biker world.
“Monster” isn’t really a spectacular film and co-star Ricci is given very little to work with, but Theron’s psychotic turn as the prostitute serial killer is definitely worth at least one viewing for those curious enough to check it out.