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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Monster

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Judy Thorburn

Monster

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

BEAUTY BECOMES BEAST IN “MONSTER”

What comes to mind when you think of serial killer? Isn’t it usually names such as Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahlmer, or Jack the Ripper that pop up?  Yet, one woman fit that description in headlines, when she was arrested, convicted, and put to death by lethal injection in Florida in 2002, after shooting seven men to death.  Her name was Aileen Wournos, and the circumstances of her tragic life have been the subject of several books, a television movie, and two documentaries by Nick Broomfield. But, none so far have created such attention and talk like the newly released film by first time screenwriter and director Patty Jenkins, who does a remarkable job, and the actress who took on the role as America’s first notorious female serial killer.

There is no doubt that Charlize Theron is one of Hollywood’s most beautiful young actresses. The South African born former model has been well received in the movie industry for her numerous past roles. But, more notice has been given on her physical attributes than her acting ability. There really was no sign that the graceful and gorgeous starlet, who has been most seen playing wives or girlfriends in dramas or action flicks, had it in her to deliver one of the most amazing performances ever to grace the silver screen. It is a role that is surely to catapult her into another realm.  Theron’s physical transformation in order to become Wournos is astounding. Not only did Charlize, accomplish disguising her flawless face with prosthetic teeth, shaved eyebrows and sun damaged skin, she put on nearly thirty pounds to her willowy frame, and takes on Wournos’ body stance, movements, and facial characteristics in such a way that the believability quotient is complete. Theron disappears, and a damaged woman who became a serial killer comes to life.

Theron does not just portray Wournos. She inhabits her soul and becomes the very essence of the woman that was a product of a tortured childhood, neglected by her parents, abused, raped and pregnant at the age of thirteen. This was a woman who led a homeless life and turned to highway prostitution as a means of supporting herself. Occasional voice over narration by Theron tries to bring to light some of the inner feelings and mindset in order to help understand what made her tick.

When we meet Wournos, she is down to five dollars and contemplating suicide. But rather than pull the trigger, she opts for a beer at the closest bar, which just happens to be gay. That’s where she meets up with Selby Wall (Christina Ricci, based on ex-lover Tyria Moore, but in real life she bears no resemblance to her), a needy, manipulative lesbian who becomes the love of Wournos’ life. Selby is another lost soul, anxious to be taken care of, and “Lee” (as Wournos is referred to) fits the bill wanting to fulfill Selby’s every wish.  Desperate to make a legitimate life for herself and her girlfriend, Lee tries to find a respectable job, but is repeatedly turned down, insulted and ridiculed by whom she, unrealistically, sees as prospective employers. Forced to turn again to the only means of making a buck, it’s back to the road and servicing some johns. And, that’s when things take a turn for the worst. Her first victim was a john that beat and raped her, and was going to kill her, before she got loose and shot him in self-defense.  But, then things get out of hand when each new trick conjure up bad memories that makes her snap. Before, too long Wournos is leaving dead bodies alongside the road, while she steals their car and drives away.

Monster does not excuse Aileen Wournos for her actions.  The film gives some insight into why and how they occurred.  Wournos is depicted as a shattered human being who tried to overcome her painful past and just survive in a world that kept putting obstacles in her way. She believed she was a good person, who made an effort to change her life and was right with God. But, in reality, the desperation to fulfill her dreams at whatever cost resulted in brutal, monstrous actions that were inexcusable. For this, she paid the ultimate price.

Monster is a sad, but powerful drama that showcases the newly discovered, hidden talent of its star, Charlize Theron.  This is a tour de force portrayal that deserves rightful and proper recognition.  There is absolutely no other actress this year (or any other, that I can recall) that can top this achievement. With Monster you are witnessing the birth of a major star. I say the Academy Awards have an Oscar winner just waiting to pick up her award come this February – if the voters are just, fair, and honest with their choice for Best Actress.  How can they possibly deny that killer performance!