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Monster's Ball

546 customer reviews

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(Jun 11, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

A hard-hitting Southern drama tempered by a story of powerful, life-changing love. Hank (Academy Award Winner - Billy Bob Thornton) is an embittered prison guard working on Death Row who begins an unlikely, but emotionally charged affair with Leticia (Academy Award Winner Halle Berry), the wife of a man under his watch on The Row.

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by director Marc Forster & director of photography Roberto Schaefer
  • Audio commentary by Halle Berry & Billy Bob Thornton and director Marc Forster
  • Deleted Scenes & Outtakes
  • "Making of the Music" featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Taylor Simpson, Gabrielle Witcher, Heath Ledger
  • Directors: Marc Forster
  • Writers: Milo Addica, Will Rokos
  • Producers: Eric Kopeloff, Lee Daniels, Mark Urman, Michael Burns, Michael Paseornek
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: June 11, 2002
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (546 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005YU1M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,573 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Monster's Ball" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

142 of 158 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 5, 2002
Billy Bob Thornton already has a fine movie to his credit for the 2001 film season, THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE. He stars in MONSTER'S BALL, a film that may possibly vie with IN THE BEDROOM for multiple Oscars.
Here, Thornton plays Hank Grotowski, a senior corrections officer at a prison ostensibly placed in Georgia. Hank supervises a team of officers, which includes his son Sonny (Heath Ledger), and which is assigned to carry out the electric chair execution of a black convict. (Incidentally, a "monster's ball" is defined as the party thrown for a prison guard before he attends at his first execution.) Living with Hank at home is his aging, physically debilitated and venomously racist father, Buck (Peter Boyle), formerly a prison guard also.
The wife of the man to be executed is Leticia, played by Halle Berry. She's gamely trying to pay the rent and keep the car running by working as a waitress, and is raising an overweight son whom she sharply disciplines in an attempt to get him to stop eating everything in sight. (Leticia is convinced that fat, black men don't have a chance in America.)
Both Hank and Leticia are leading separate lives of quiet - and sometimes not so quiet - desperation, each being psychologically and emotionally dragged under by circumstances and taxing personal relationships. Then, in a series of traumatic events over a short period of time, each is cut free of burdens and left, through serendipitous accident, with only each other.
MONSTER'S BALL contains several volatile scenes of emotions on the rawest of edges, and which will keep the viewer riveted. Thornton and Berry both give exemplary performances as two people in unlikely company coming to grip with personal demons.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Ibochild on June 23, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
When I first heard the basic plot of MONSTER'S BALL, I was very intrigued, but skeptical. Watching the movie, I dreaded throughout that the filmmaker's were going to play things out in an obvious and predictable way. How refreshing it was to discover that they didn't.
Instead, I saw a tight, economical script with an amazing performance by Halle Berry. Undoubtedly, people will nit-pick about Berry's work in the film, but beat by beat, her Leticia was one of the most physically and emotionally challenging roles of the year. For the most part, she was up to the task and clearly demonstrated that she's a serious actress. One can debate whether or not she deserved an Oscar for her work, but she definitely gave an Oscar calibre performance.
Billy Bob Thornton was also deserving of an Academy Award nomination (although he didn't receive one) for his complex role as Hank. He played it honestly and fearlessly.
Also of note was Mos Def's performance in the film. It was finely shaded and understated. He's definitely an actor to watch.
However, despite these and other fine performanes in the film (Peter Boyle is another example), what really impressed me about this film was its script. All too often, writers seem compelled to explain every detail about a character, so that the audience "gets it." Fortunately, with MONSTER'S BALL, the writers assume that the audience has some level of intelligence.
In this film, one gets more with just a look on a character's face than would be accomplished in ten pages of expositional dialog. The screenplay deservedly was nominated for both an Oscar as well as an Independent Spirit Award.
Another thing that was refreshing about this film was that it didn't shy away from its controversial subject matter.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By WILLIE A YOUNG II on May 16, 2002
Format: DVD
I have no quibbles whatsoever about this film, it's characters, acting, content, realism or any of the other silly little comments that everyone else is making. I'm a man, from the South so there's a little bit of Hank in me. I'm also a diagnosed manic depressive, so I understand Letitia's emotional hurt and explosive outbursts (sexual or otherwise) I'm also Black, so understanding and having sympathy for the Black characters and relating to it's racial issues was no stretch for me, I just want to know who is the Blonde Goddess playing the detached hooker in the hotel? When Hank tells her after an attempted tryst to "just keep that money" her reply of "I'm gon' to" just cracked me up! Don't make this movie more than it is people, it's a brilliant character study that reveals not only what can, but often DOES happen in real life when unusual circumstances bring people together. P. S. Halle Berry is volcanic, she deserved that Oscar.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By The Groove on June 26, 2002
Format: DVD
"Monster's Ball" is about two people who are united through circumstance and tragedy. Billy Bob Thornton plays Hank, a prison guard who has an adult son (an impressive Heath Ledger) and takes care of his boorish, redneck father. Halle Berry is Leticia, a woman whose husband (a very good Sean Combs) is on death row, can't seem to hold down a job, and vents her frustrations on her obese young son. Neither Hank nor Leticia is a very good parent, and they come from two entirely different backgrounds. But on one rainy evening, they cross paths with each other, and from there a relationship begins. However, what Leticia doesn't know is that Hank was one of the people who assisted her husband's execution. And, as with almost all interracial relationships, tension rises between them, and Hank is forced to confront his racist demons.
This is a very upsetting movie, and the material deals with some very volatile issues. But it soars on the strength of the performances. The spotlight is clearly Halle's, who rightfully earned her Oscar. An actress known for her beauty, she de-glamed herself in this gritty performance, and she pulled it off without faking a single move. But props also has to go to Billy Bob Thornton, who gives a dynamite performance as well. Following "The Man Who Wasn't There," Thornton is on a roll, and is becoming one of the finest actors in the last ten years. And let's not forget rapper Mos Def, who makes a brief, but compelling appearance as Hank's neighbor. "Monster's Ball" may be a tough movie to sit through, but it's easily one of the best films of 2001 and warrants a purchase.
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Says that the sex scene is about a minute longer and more explicit.
Jan 6, 2014 by msc |  See all 2 posts
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