Man, what a truly great film this would have been were it combined with "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton." We could have had "Tad Hamilton Wins a Date with Aileen Wuornos." The plot goes something like this: Womanizing Tad Hamilton wins a date with serial killer Aileen Wuornos and is then shot in the head and torso several times.
Oh well. Can't have everything. As far as this movie goes, it's overrated. Best movie of the year? Please. It's not even close. There are dozens of serial killer movies more interesting than this one. Just because this one is about a woman serial killer doesn't make it better and just because Charlize Theron is porked up and her skin looks like aging cheddar cheese doesn't make it interesting.
Furthermore, this film is repulsively sympathetic towards Wuornos, a hooker most of her adult life who started shooting her johns in Florida. She was caught after killing seven men, including one who tried to help her, not screw her. Apparently, Wuornos was raped at a young age and never had a chance in life. However, as one character notes, plenty of people are dealt a bad hand in life and they don't go around shooting folks. In some societies, she might have been given life in prison considering her circumstances, but she lives in Florida, so it's no real surprise that the jury has her executed. It's like a sport there.
What's infuriating about the point of view of this film is that this line comes out of the mouth of Selby's (Christina Ricci) stepmom, who's pretty much a dolt. Selby, a young lesbian shipped to her conservative relatives by a disapproving father, becomes Aileen's lover. While no character in the movie is anything more than trailer trash, Selby's stepmom is doubly bad for being trailer trash and married to a conservative who'd more likely shoot a lesbian than try to understand one. She's just a really pathetic character who delivers a truthful line. As such, that line loses its credibility and we're left to believe that Wuornos deserves our sympathy.
I haven't seen or heard this mentioned, but the title "Monster" is not really a reference to Wuornos, but rather a reference to an amusement park ride: a large Ferris wheel. To Wuornos, the ride represents the hope she remembers as a child. Eventually, the movie concludes that there never was any hope for Wuornos because of her tragic circumstances.
Frankly, I'm not sure it's necessary to even debate the moral conundrums presented by "Monster." It simply wallows in a cesspool of humanity, a place where I'd rather not spend any time, let alone two hours.
To spread the word about this Monster review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.