Release Date: December 24, 2003
Limited release

Yes, this is actually Charlize Theron.

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Based on the true story of highway prostitute Aileen Wuornos, this movie portrays the strange and difficult-to-watch tale about a woman who murdered any client that tried to rape her. Her road to prostitution was long and intricate, as Wuornos suffered a tragic childhood marked by abuse and drug use as she grew up in Michigan. By the time she was 13 years of age, she was already both pregnant and employed as a prostitute.

In the end, Wuornos, made her way to the highways of Florida, where she served at the pleasure of the truck drivers who frequented the routes. For the limited time frame of this feature-length film, the story will center around a nine-month period in the murderess' life between 1989 and 1990. At that point, she had a lesbian relationship with a woman named Selby and also started her course as a serial killer. The men who tried to rape her found themselves her victims, which is a bit of a turning of the tables since highway prostitutes are some of the more frequent victims of serial killers themselves.

Up and coming distributor Newmarket Films (Whale Rider, Memento) is releasing Monster just in time for awards consideration, presumably for the actors involved. Luscious starlet Charlize Theron altered her looks substantially to take on the role of Wuornos, who was a fairly hardened-appearing woman. Depending on which report you believe, Theron gained as much as 25 pounds and wore prosthetic makeup to duplicate the woman she portrays. Working alongside her is indie favorite Christina Ricci, who acts here as the central character's lesbian lover.

Eventually, Wuornos was convicted of killing six truck drivers, which eventually led to her receiving the death penalty in 2002. This difficult subject matter certainly doesn't lend itself particularly well to happy holiday fare, but much like Boys Don't Cry, its serious themes and brutal examination of a harsh reality will undoubtedly catch some attention in critical circles. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

December 28, 2003

Though the majority of the country has yet to see the film - it opens more widely on January 9 - advance word for Monster has been superlative. A good deal of the acclaim centers around its star, Charlize Theron, who has already secured several award nominations, and has to be considered a serious contender for a Best Actress Oscar nod. Word has it that the film's stark subject matter may make it difficult to be somewhat inaccessible to a mass audience, but Theron's startling performance will make it worthwhile. (Tony Kollath/BOP)

Vital statistics for Monster
Main Cast Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern
Supporting Cast Lee Tergesen, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Scott Wilson, Bubba Baker, Robb Chamberlain, Annie Corley, Marc Macaulay, Catherine Mangan, Brett Rice, Marco St. John
Director Patty Jenkins
Screenwriter Patty Jenkins
Distributor Newmarket Film Group
Rating R
Running Time 109 minutes
Screen Count 4
Awards page for Monster
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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