I saw "Monster" in the theater in 2004, and immediately knew no performance could beat Charleze Theron's portrayal of Aileen Wuonros, labeled a serial killer after shooting 9 men in Florida in the late 1980's.
Theron completely transformed herself from the inside out for this role.
Unrecognizable, she WAS Wuonros. She won the Oscar. Golden Globe, SAG and others.
Although I loved the movie, I have read accounts of Wuonros' childhood and the condensed version at the beginning of the movie was grossly unfair. It did not at all depict the level of instability, years of sexual abuse, and neglect Aileen suffered as a child and teen.
Her parents were young teens. Her mother abandoned her when she was 4, and her father was in prison for sex related crimes. He also was said to.have suffered from schizophrenia.
Aileen lived with her grandfather, who often beat her, and one of his friends sexually assaulted her for years, resulting in a pregnancy at age 13. The baby was given up for adoption.
I seem to remember she ran away, and lived mostly in nearby woods until she became involved in prostitution at age 13.
Aileen was not someone who evoked sympathy. She was loud, often angry, and spoke frankly.
I think she was treated unfairly AND inaccurately by the press, which could have changed the course of her life after being captured.
Just because there were unexplained murders of men in Florida, that seemed to be linked to sexual encounters, they began being referred to as serial killings, and when it was believed to be a woman, the press exploded with speculation about the first woman serial killer.
I think it is sexist, and an opportunity to sell stories.
Bonnie and Clyde killed people
during their robberies, John Dillinger, Al Capone, and many more who killed, or were responsible for many, many deaths. Yet, they are not labeled serial killers.
I think Aileen was likely not at all a sociopath, and especially nothing like the aforementioned who regulary either gunned men down, or ordered it, without batting an eye. Yet, they are not labeled
Just because men were being killed by a woman, and there was an element of sex, involved, she's a serial killer.
What is SO sexist and obviously a male perspective, is sexual gratification is almost always the motive for male serial killers.
Yes, Aileen, a prostitute since age 13, wanted just ONE more paunchy old man heaving over her! She was simply there to rob them, just like the notorious people above.
Labeling Aileen made stories more enticing, but it is a gross injustice and unfair that she be remembered that way.
The movie shows a horrifying rape, torture scene in a customer's car in a remote area, where she was severely beaten, tied up and penetrated with a metal object.
When Aileen regained consciousness, and he announced his plan for more rape and her murder, she managed to get free and shoot him with a gun he hadn't noticed in her purse.
It's interesting, with all the evidence of a bloody, horrible sexual assault, and beating, even then, she did not report it to the police.
Who knows what would have happened? However, it seemed the state of Florida didn't much like hookers, gays, the non-religious, blacks..........
Wuonros, denying any previous gay activity, falls in love with Selby, played well by Christina Ricci, a shy, young gay woman, who flees with Lee from her Christian fundamentalist family, furious about her relationship with a prostitute.
Extremely dependent, the clear condition of their relationship for Selby, is that Lee is able to support her.
Although severely traumatized by her attack and the shooting,
Lee is desperate to hold on to Selby and their happiness, and does not tell her about it.
Lee announces she is going to get a regular job, but her valiant effort fails.
Even though she has done her best to dress up, her face and demeanor tell the story of her hard life, and the lawyer interviewing her summarily rejects her with some very nasty commentary.
Running out of money, Selby is pressuring Lee, and she is forced to go back to hooking.
In the trick's car, Lee begins to experience severe PTSD flashbacks and immediately starts firing, killing her second victim.
After that she went home with all the victim's cash and his car. She gained a sense of power being able to control her safety with a gun, but I would not say she developed a "taste" for killing. She felt empathy, and never killed for the sake of killing.She did not enjoy it. It did cause conflicting and buried emotions to surface, but the killing was always necessary to avoid getting identified.
Lee was obviously a very damaged person before she began killing. Bruce Dern, the manager where she rented a storage unit, and sometimes crashed, tries to give her food and go easy on her for the rent. A Viet Nam vet, he sees her hardship as equal to his.
Its not hard to see how isolating her world was, and how alone. This film is a cold stare at the complete absence of a place for Lee to go for help. She has no family. Like most women in prostitution, family was something to escape.
Not only did she not seek or expect help, she probably gave up on help AND hope by age 5.
Even if we didn't know the story, we know the story
Tragic, Compelling, Tender, Harsh. Loved it.