Monster

  • Review Date: June 1, 2004
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 110 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Powerful, painful for mature audiences only.
  • Review Date: June 1, 2004
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 110 minutes

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence

Extremely graphic violence, including rape, murders. Many tense and upsetting scenes.

Sex

Explicit sexual references and situations, including sexual assault, prostitution, gay sex.

Language

Extreme and constant strong language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink and smoke a lot, drug references.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is for viewers 17 and up only. The main character in this fact-based story is a serial killer and a prostitute. The movie has explicit sexual references and situations, including gay sex, prostitution, and rape, extremely strong language, violence (including a brutal rape and several murders), smoking and drinking. There are tense and upsetting scenes.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

MONSTER depicts the story of the woman called America's first female serial killer, Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron), who was abused as a child and began turning tricks at age 13. She thinks she has nothing to live for until she meets Shelby (Christina Ricci), a shy and needy lesbian. Even though Aileen is not gay, she is drawn to Shelby. For a moment, it seems that she can find a new life for herself. But she has no skills and no capacity to get a legitimate job. She is forced to go back to prostitution to take care of Shelby, and when a customer rapes and beats her, she snaps, and she kills him. She takes his money and his car. And then she begins to entrap and kill more men, each less justified than the last as she becomes more desperate and ultimately delusional.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Glamour girl Charlize Theron's breathtaking, heartbreaking transformation into the completely opposite image of Wuornos makes this film an astonishing achievement. The movie wisely does not pretend to explain what was going on in the mind and soul of a woman who was mentally ill. Unlike the similar Boys Don't Cry however, it is unable to elevate the facts into a larger story about identity and intimacy.

What makes the movie worthwhile is Theron's performance, open, vulnerable, tragic, moving, and most of all, honest. Aileen's behavior is contradictory, volatile, and disturbed. She loses control and lashes out irrationally. There are moments when I was not sure whether Theron was acting or just trying to keep her dental appliance from slipping, and no one could make some of those voiceover speeches work, but with the ferocity of her grip on the character she never lets us lose sight of Aileen's humanity. Theron's portrait of Aileen is sympathetic without pretending that she is more of a victim than the men she killed.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about who is the "monster." If it is Aileen, what made her that way? What could have prevented it? In what ways is the movie sympathetic to Aileen, and in what ways is it not? How can you tell?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 23, 2003
DVD release date:May 31, 2004
Cast:Bruce Dern, Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci
Director:Patty Jenkins
Studio:Newmarket Film Group
Genre:Drama
Run time:110 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong violence and sexual content, and for pervasive language

This review of Monster was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bywonder dove October 26, 2013
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Depressing yet Incredible performances!

Jaw dropping performance by Charlize Theron who won an Oscar for this terrific film! Barely recognized her in this and I think she's one of the most beautiful women! After someone recommending this film to me & viewing the trailer, it seemed too interesting to pass up. It also stars another favorite, Christina Ricci! I loved the story, pace and emotional aspect of the film. It was heartfelt, moving, gripping & depressing all in one. I also found Theron's character's personality witty and honest (before she went nuts) which made it all the better to watch. In this true story we meet Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute, who had a horrible childhood. Her life was messy until she met the adorable Selby, a lesbian who befriends Aileen one day in a bar. However, Aileen is not gay. Later, she realizes she loves Selby, which ultimately leads to a romantic relationship between the two. Aileen becomes the "guy" and wants to protect and provide for Selby. However, after getting raped and beaten by one of her "clients", Aileen makes her first killing by shooting him dead, out of defense. Completely freaked out, she quickly realizes that her "job" will no longer work and she must try to clean up and find a regular job, but it's not as easy as she thinks. Hungry and without a dime to spare for the two, Aileen goes back into prostituting but doesn't actually perform the acts, instead, she kills them and takes their money. This prolongs until it gets way out of hand, Aileen becomes a serial killer who was convicted in 1990 and executed in 2002. The language is very strong and contains tons of f-words, b*tch, @ss, d@mn, sh*t, n*gger and some sexually related words. Violence is very strong and contains a very intense torture/rape scene where Aileen is hit over the head and tied up in car and he shoves something up her butt (can't see what - not graphically shown), then he pours something over her (methyl alcohol?) she appears bloody and she struggles until she escapes, she shoots him continuously and then beats him vigorously with the gun. Several other gunshot scenes, car stealing, pushing and shoving, some loud yelling, arguments and outbursts. Sexual content contains passionate kissing between gay lovers, one sex scene between Aileen & Selby (not graphic) but you see one of their breasts briefly, a tender kiss between women on a skating floor until they move outside and kiss passionately and wildly for about one minute. Aileen's breasts are seen for 2 seconds in a mirror. A scene where a law officer takes Aileen to a garage and demands sexual favors, he pulls down his pants but then the scene cuts to something else. Aileen talks dirty to one of her clients before she finds out it's his "first time", she gives him a hand job. There is heavy drinking at a bar, women often get intoxicated. Smoking throughout. Kids/Teens will not understand nor appreciate this film, it's definitely not appropriate for that age range!!! 18++ only.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byBlockBlock March 29, 2015
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

A Masterpiece of Raw Emotion

An absolute rollercoaster of joy, tears, and everything in between. Extremely inappropriate and distasteful in every way imaginable, yet it's beautiful and wouldn't be the same without the real-world grime. If you're going to watch this with your family, make sure you're all comfortable with the subject matter. People unprepared can be quite upset by the nature of the film.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byKyle Winters May 29, 2014
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

"Monster" is an amazing film.

Horselovera9, this film disgusts you? Your review disgusts me much more. You judge this film based much more on violence than its quality. This film is about a prostitute who turned into a serial killer. What were you expecting? "I cannot believe this movie has won so many awards" It won several awards for Charlize Theron's incredible performance. Do you have any idea of all the things she had to go through to achieve such a wonderful performance? "Monster" is not a film for immatures viewers, which is exactly what you are. While checking your profile, I saw that you gave "New Moon" five stars and said it's an awesome film. So "New Moon" it's an awesome film and "Monster" is a terrible one? Seriously?! "please compliment and review me! Hope this helps you make the right choice. Don't see this terrible movie!" Compliment you for what if you judge a film based on violence rather than quality? Explain that please. You know what? I feel sorry for you. Because your immaturity keeps you from appreciating such a masterpiece. What makes it an incredible film is the realistic way that it portrays Aileen's story. You watch it and you have the feeling that that's how it must have happened on her life. The acting in particular was impressive. "Monster" is not for anyone who is close-minded with violence, which is pretty much Horselovera9's case. Don't listen to this kid or to anyone who judges films based on violence rather than quality. These people just don't know what they say. We must review films based on acting, directing, writing and etc, not violence.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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