(3,654)1 h 48 min2004R
Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer. Starring Charlize Theron in her Academy Award winning role as Wuornos and Christina Ricci.
Patty Jenkins
Charlize TheronChristina RicciBruce Dern
English [CC]
Audio languages
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R (Restricted)
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Alcohol usefoul languagenuditysexual contentsmokingviolence
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4.6 out of 5 stars

3654 global ratings

  1. 77% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 12% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

S. VecchioReviewed in the United States on January 10, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Although I loved the movie
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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
serial killers.

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.
64 people found this helpful
E.K.SymsReviewed in the United States on February 9, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
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I can see why Theron won critical acclaim for her performance in this film.

I avoided this film for years because it frankly scares me that people can be such monsters and I wanted to remain safely ignorant.

However, my very raw emotions of pity, anger, disdain and guarded empathy for those in life that are abused and often become abusers came out strong when watching this story.

If this isn't a wake up call to the world to eliminate abuse, treat others with respect and love, then I don't know what is.

It's either love and support people, or inevitably grow more monsters among us.
53 people found this helpful
Laura's a NightowlReviewed in the United States on January 24, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
it's a testament to what can happen when life is so painful that a person starts to fragment into a broken ...
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I lived in Daytona while this was taking place. But, that isn't why this film is important to me. This is a tragic true story, it's a testament to what can happen when life is so painful that a person starts to fragment into a broken soul, with a broken heart, and a monster emerges. It's a deeply moving story about what happens when instead of family, support, love, help, humanity, a person falls into despair out of lack and isolation, pain, abuse.
Everyone over the age of 21 should watch this, to learn, to explore compassion, and to have insight to share with preteens for the same reason.
Tragic lives are everywhere. We need to see it, to care, to be involved. If people like Aileen are not helped, we will be surrounded by the monsters our society has created.
54 people found this helpful
DetectorReviewed in the United States on June 2, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
brilliant performance by Theron
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Theron managed to transform herself so completely, it's hard for me to imagine her as her "real" self at this moment, that is to say, for instance, the gorgeous, brilliant woman I saw hilariously take apart Zach Galifianakis as he posed (in reality, no doubt) as a hostile, resentful, uncomfortable "interviewer" interviewing Theron on his "Between 2 Ferns" talk show. And then you realize, someone who lives with her would recognize latent images, as it were, in the everyday Theron, of the character that Theron adapted, or collaged for this movie. Fascinating, at least as compelling a physical transformation as any that male actors have accomplished over the last few decades. I'm not sure this portrayal of Wournos sheds a lot of light on the real, historical Wuornos, but the movie makers, and most of all Theron, create a plausible character that you believe could evolve into a serial killer, without necessarily being born one. I tend to think the real Wournos, might be more of the "born to kill" type. I think you have to take the movie on its own terms as a psycho-drama, more than as a historical biography.
10 people found this helpful
J. PatrickReviewed in the United States on September 10, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Think you can't identify with a monster? Think again.
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I lived in Florida during the time of her killing spree and subsequent trial. I remember thinking of the reporting that there's something amiss here, something very different other than her being a woman and a serial killer. Then a couple of documentaries came out that shed light on Aileen Wuornos' life and MONSTER beautifully brings this horrific tragedy to cinematic life. There is nothing about this story that is not heartbreaking, but in MONSTER what we really see is the travesty of our society played out. The abuses certain women - most of them economically poor - have to take just to survive, only to be punished for them when the weight of it all becomes the impetus for psychosis. That's not to say Wuornos did not deserve either the death penalty or life in prison for killing the men that she did. But MONSTER illustrates how someone with a capacity to love can be pushed by life-long circumstances to her breaking point. Theron more than earned her Oscar, and every other accolade she received for this performance. Well done, Patty Jenkins.
30 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on December 19, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
It's a disturbing story but one that makes you want to watch
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Monster was based upon a true story of Aileen (Charlize Theron) who was a prostitute that turned into a serial killer in Florida. That’s only part of the movie however. It paints a picture of how beat down in life Aileen was and how she met Selby (Christina Ricci) who became her girlfriend. Their relationship is the main focus of the film.

The first thing that stands out is the transformation Theron went through. The make-up job was amazing. Then of course her portrayal of the character was outstanding as well. Her desperation. He continued failures in life. It really brought Aileen to life as not just being a murderer.

Selby’s character in contrast wasn’t as engaging as she came off being delusional about the life she was living.

Overall it was a very disturbing story and yet one that made you want to watch.
3 people found this helpful
Dante ToscanoReviewed in the United States on February 11, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
A True Reflection of Dark Love
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Patty Jenkins starts off Monster (2003) immediately wanting to pull you in. In concentrating the first shots of Aileen (Charlize Theron) in a zoomed in format, we follow the specific emotion and transformation she goes through- from innocence to a developing of emotional damage- the screen widening with every new phase of her life. We know from this that Aileen is headed to something terrible. From early on she faced abused by what we assume are the hands of her father, turning into a sort of social outcast with peers her age, and then using her body to gain the attention of the opposite gender. In then leading to the selling of sex, we know that Aileen is doing this for the purpose of wanting to be noticed, wanting to be loved, and wanting someone to see her in the light she always wanted to be see. It is no coincidence then that when she finally has her run in with Selby (Christina Ricci), a person whom shows immediate interest, Aileen can’t help but fall for her.

A scene I took a lot from was when Selby and Aileen first get physical and Selby says, “ I thought you didn’t like girls”, with Aileen responding, “I didn’t like anyone really…”. I thought that it really summarizes the lack of emotional care and attention Aileen has been craving and highlights in a weird way her innocence, immaturity and maybe even ignorance in “love”. As “dirty” as one might perceive a character like Aileen, we can’t help but feel for her and root for her in this quest to be happy. This quickly gets darker when one last john puts her life in danger, and she has to fight/take his to protect her own. The fighting doesn’t end there, as she has begs Selby to give her a chance and stay with her, and though Selby agrees, that bright light doesn’t last long. The events that took place with her last John completely shadow all of her future actions and suddenly flips a switch in Aileen. No longer does she see any barriers to what she can do, no longer does anyones life matter besides the one she wants to hold on to with Selby. I would also argue that it is also due to Selby’s immaturity, that Aileen stays in the path that she is on.

I think Patty Jenkins does an amazing job on writing and bringing to life this biographical film on the actual events that surrounded Aileen Wuornos life. It deals with a very dark side of love, and the length of which one person would go in justifying the torment they suffered vs that which the lash out. Charlize Theron does in amazing job at giving true color to all the emotions and faults, and makes us suffer as Aileen suffers.
One person found this helpful
Ellie LindseyReviewed in the United States on October 19, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Amazing Acting and Script
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I've heard about Charlize Theron's epic performance in this movie for years, but just got around to watching it for some reason. It lives up to the hype - this made me cry, and I don't usually cry unless a dog dies in a movie. But something about her performance is truly magical, and although I knew a fair amount about Aileen Wournos from documentaries and interviews, this film made me understand how she got to the point she did. It's a movie that doesn't excuse her crimes (the last murder shown makes me sick), but it shows that she is a human being who was mistreated and raped and broken. Men were who abused her, yet the movie doesn't villify men - her male friend played by Bruce Dern is a sympathetic character. Christina Ricci is similarly amazing in her role as Wournos' girlfriend, and her journey with Wournos is heartbreaking. I'm glad I saw this movie.
4 people found this helpful
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