Monster (2003 film)

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Monster (2003 poster).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Patty Jenkins
Produced by Charlize Theron
Mark Damon
Clark Peterson
Donald Kushner
Brad Wyman
Written by Patty Jenkins
Starring Charlize Theron
Christina Ricci
Bruce Dern
Lee Tergesen
Music by BT
Cinematography Steven Bernstein
Edited by Arthur Coburn
Jane Kurson
Distributed by Newmarket Films
Release date
  • November 16, 2003 (2003-11-16) (AFI Film Fest)
  • January 9, 2004 (2004-01-09) (United States, limited)
  • April 15, 2004 (2004-04-15) (Germany)
Running time
109 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8 million[1]
Box office $60.4 million[1]

Monster is a 2003 biographical crime drama film written and directed by Patty Jenkins. The film is about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a former prostitute who was executed in Florida in 2002 for killing six men (she was not tried for a seventh murder) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Wuornos was played by Charlize Theron; her semi-fictionalized lover, Selby Wall (based on Wuornos's real-life girlfriend Tyria Moore), was played by Christina Ricci.

Theron received critical acclaim and won numerous awards for her portrayal, including the Academy Award for Best Actress, Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress. Monster was produced by Denver & Delilah Films and K/W Productions and distributed by Newmarket Films.[2][3]


In 1989, after moving from Michigan to Daytona Beach, Florida, prostitute Aileen Wuornos meets Selby Wall in a gay bar. Although she is initially hostile and declares that she is not gay, Aileen talks to Selby over a drink of beer. Selby takes to Aileen almost immediately, as she likes that she is very protective of her. Selby invites Aileen to spend the night with her. The two women return to the house where Selby is staying (temporarily exiled by her parents following the accusation from another girl that Selby tried to kiss her). They later agree to meet at a roller skating rink, and they kiss for the first time. Aileen and Selby fall in love, but they have nowhere to go, so Selby goes back to her aunt's home.

After being sexually assaulted and brutalized by a client, Vincent Corey, Aileen kills him in self-defense and decides to quit prostitution. She confesses her actions to Selby, who has been angry with her for her failure to support both of them. Aileen struggles to find legitimate work, but because of her lack of qualifications and criminal history, prospective employers reject her and are occasionally openly hostile. Desperate for money, Aileen returns to prostitution. She robs and kills her johns, each killed in a more brutal way than the last, as she is convinced that they are all trying to rape her. She spares one man out of pity when he admits he has never had sex with a prostitute, but eventually kills another man who, instead of exploiting her, offers help. Aileen uses the money she stole from her victims to support herself and Selby.

However, Selby reads in the newspapers about the string of murders, and she begins to suspect that Aileen may have committed them. She confronts Aileen, who justifies her actions by claiming she had only been protecting herself. Horrified, Selby returns to Ohio on a charter bus. The night of her arrest, Aileen was approached by two bounty hunters luring her outside to hand her to the cops. Thomas, whom Aileen always referred to as the only friend she had, tries to save her from getting arrested by stealing her away from the two men that approached her. Thomas offered to drive her off but Aileen refused thinking that he is trying to rape her like all the other men. Aileen is eventually arrested at a biker bar and speaks to Selby one last time while in jail. Selby reveals some incriminating information over the telephone and Aileen realizes that the police are listening in. To protect Selby, Aileen admits that she committed the murders alone. During Aileen's trial, Selby testifies against her, with Aileen's loving consent. Aileen is convicted of the murders and sentenced to death. On October 9, 2002, Aileen is executed by lethal injection.



Film critics praised Monster; most gave overwhelmingly high praise to Theron's performance as a mentally ill[4] woman – Wuornos had antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.[5] For the role, Theron gained 30 pounds (14 kg), shaved her eyebrows, and wore prosthetic teeth.[6] Critics called her performance, and her makeup, a "transformation".[7] Film critic Roger Ebert named it best film of the year, and wrote "What Charlize Theron achieves in Patty Jenkins' 'Monster' isn't a performance but an embodiment... [It] is one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema."[8] Ricci's performance also drew some praise, but was not without criticism. In his review for the film, Ebert praised her performance, stating "Christina Ricci finds the right note for Selby Wall – so correct some critics have mistaken it for bad acting, when in fact it is sublime acting in its portrayal of a bad actor. She plays Selby as clueless, dim, in over her head, picking up cues from moment to moment, cobbling her behavior out of notions borrowed from bad movies, old songs, and barroom romances".[8]

Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress, Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama and the SAG Award for her performance.

In 2009, Ebert named it the third best film of the decade.[9] Review website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 81% of critics gave the film a positive review, with a "Certified Fresh" and an average score of 7.2/10.


Monster OST.jpg
Soundtrack album by BT
Released January 30, 2004
Label dts Entertainment

In 2004, BT released a soundtrack to the film.[10] Included with the release is a DVD featuring all fifteen original cues, and an additional nine cues that would not fit on the CD, as well as an interview with BT and Patty Jenkins, and remix files for "Ferris Wheel".

All songs written by BT.

  1. "Childhood Montage"
  2. "Girls Kiss"
  3. "The Bus Stop"
  4. "Turning Tricks"
  5. "First Kill"
  6. "Job Hunt"
  7. "Bad Cop"
  8. "'Call Me Daddy' Killing"
  9. "I Don't Like It Rough"
  10. "Ferris Wheel (Love Theme)"
  11. "Ditch the Car"
  12. "Madman Speech"
  13. "Cop Killing"
  14. "News on TV"
  15. "Courtroom"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Monster (2003) - Box Office Mojo". . Dir. Patty Jenkins stated in an interview on 13 November 2017 with film critic Thelma Adams that press accounts of the film's budget were exaggerated, saying that the budget was $1.5 million.
  2. ^ Rooney, David (November 17, 2003). "Monster". Variety. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  3. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (November 18, 2003). "Monster". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 31, 2003. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  4. ^ Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer. Dir. Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill. Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. 2003.
  5. ^ "Aileen Carol Wuornos #805". 
  6. ^ "Movie transformations". SFGate. November 1, 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Monster". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  8. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (January 1, 2004). "Monster". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 30, 2009). "The Best Films of the Decade". Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Monster Soundtrack". SoundtrackNet. August 4, 2004. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 

External links[edit]