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Saturday, September 1, 2012
|By Sati.||Saturday, September 1, 2012||2003, drama, history, M, Monster, movies, Patty Jenkins, review, Romance, thriller|
Monster is a movie that is most remember for Charlize Theron's work as Aileen, rewarded with almost every possible acting trophy including Oscar. But at its core Monster is the heartbreaking story of broken dreams and failed expectations, a tough tale of survival where a person can't afford a luxury of caring about what is right and what is wrong. In its opening we hear Aileen's narrative who talks about her dreams - cliche dreams so many of people share - becoming famous, falling in love, getting rescued. Aileen's dreams came true for a while - she found someone she loved but it was too late for her to be rescued.
The problem is that what is between those two women is not really love or even a relationship - they are just two people who needed someone else and jumped at the first chance of leaving their failed lives behind. Selby is incredibly spoiled and Aileen starts killing her clients not only because after years of abuse she feels those men deserve it but also for money to be able to indulge Selby's every whim. At the same time she is not even a lesbian so she can't fully reciprocate Selby's affections which only brings them more bitterness. The two start pushing each other away, Selby being disappointed in Aileen's inability to engage in physical love and Aileen deep down sensing Selby doesn't really love her.
While the film does a good job at showing that not all of Aileen's clients were pigs and some of them were just sad, lonely guys, it also offers as a look at how far person's desperation can lead them. First time Aileen killed in self defense, then she killed because once she did it, perhaps she finally felt liberated. Raped, abused, humiliated for years for the first time it was her who held some one's life in her grasp. The most heartbreaking scenes are those were Aileen knows that the people she is about to kill don't deserve to die but she still chooses to kill them, because she needs to. She needs to, in order to keep her dream with Selby alive.
Aileen killed for love, Selby lied for comfortable life. While one can blame some of this on her young age she knew what Aileen was doing and didn't stop her. She stuck with her because Aileen had the money. In many ways Aileen was cheated, fooling herself that Selby genuinely cares for her. There were many times during this movie that it was evident she knows the truth, but she kept pretending everything was perfect, because even if it was a lie it was so much better than everything else she has came to know in her life. After the trial the women never spoke again.
Aileen Wuornos, a notoriously uncooperative person, gave director Patty Jenkins access to hundreds of letters she had written and received in order to gain insight into Aileen's life. Jenkins chose Theron for the performance after seeing her in The Devil's Advocate claiming that an actress who would allow a close up of her runny nose would be open for a performance as brave as this one. That was terrific decision as Theron delivered one of the most astonishing performances ever - her physical transformation into Aileen is incredible. Theron who is without a doubt one of the most beautiful woman in the world wore prosthetics, a lot of make up all over her body and gained weight. She also adopted the different way of speaking, walking and gesticulating, all to embody Aileen even more. Truthfully, when you watch Monster you can't believe it's Theron underneath all of this. But her performance is not just what you see at the first glance - she completely captures Aileen's bitterness, desperation and the genuine care she has for Selby.
Christina Ricci is very good as Selby, creating a portrait of spoiled, confused girl who can't find her place in in the world. The film mostly relies on those two performance but the supporting cast delivers good work, although comparing to Theron's work they all blend in the background. Jenkins directed the story very well, though it's obvious many times we see romanticized version of events, but life story told in two hour long movie often plays this way. Aileen encounters many horrors from other people and the film focuses on her misery so much that many of her actions seem justified, while in reality she was a person that murdered for money which was a fact, no matter how much suffering she endured in her life, it was still what she did.
Monster (2003, 109 min)
Plot: Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer. The film focuses on the nine month period between 1989 and 1990, during which Wuornos had a relationship with a woman named Selby. Wuornos kept killing her clients in order to provide money for her and Selby, while being on the run from the police.
Director: Patty Jenkins
Writer: Patty Jenkins
Stars: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci and Bruce Dern