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I saw the movie Monster a month or two ago and meant to write something about it, but it slipped my mind. While reading Sheila Buttz who referred me to an entry of Bidinotto’s about how Hollywood donates its political cash, I was reminded of the movie Monster for which Charlize Theron won an Academy Award.

Monster is the movie based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, the serial killer from Florida who was executed in 1992 for killing seven men. Before I saw the movie I read nothing but glowing reviews of Theron’s performance in portraying a woman who the media dubbed as “America’s first woman serial killer”. The movie is an Independent Film which got it further attention because it was so well done but wasn’t backed by any major movie studio from the outset.

There is a great deal about Monster that deserves to be praised: from the actors to the direction to the writing to the cinematography and more. The movie does draw you in because all of those dynamics work together to put you close to Aileen Wuonos and tell you her story. It is not family entertainment; it is not a happy movie. As a matter of fact, it’s emotionally draining – or at least it was for me – because of its intensity in its portrayal of Aileen Wuornos. And by the end of it, in spite of what I saw the character of Wuornos do in the movie, I felt sympathy for her.

What made me think of the movie Monster now was Bidinotto’s mention of the CBS produced, Showtime aired movie The Reagans that caused such an uproar. So much of an uproar, in fact, that CBS pulled it from their schedule and moved it to Showtime. They wouldn’t can it altogether; they just made it a little more difficult to see. But see it I did, and it was repugnant. I knew enough about the Reagans before I saw the movie so that I could tell the difference between fact, fiction, and outright blatant lies. No one who helped to create that movie went into it for a second with the idea of telling The Reagans story honestly, whether it be from the White House angle or the well touted romance angle. It was a smear from the outset. That was obvious to anyone who cared to notice.

I didn’t know nearly as much about Aileen Wuonos before I saw Monster. I naively believed from what I’d read and heard about the movie that it was about her life; the essence of what she did that caused all the ruckus. After all, she was America’s first female serial killer. Except that she wasn’t. The very first premise upon which this movie is based is also a lie.

One of the most interesting parts of the movie to me was when I discovered what the reference “Monster” really means. I thought I knew — it was Arlene Wuonos. Not exactly. As stupid and silly and overly dramatic as I know this sounds, I understood a whole lot better what this movie was about when I saw the “Monster” of the movie. I’d experienced that “Monster” for myself, and I thought, quite seriously, that I was going to die. Usually I can laugh at the ridiculous positions into which I’ve put myself and shrug it off as a lesson not to do that again. But this was different. I remember exactly how that felt all these years later, and I still can’t laugh it off.

So, by the time the movie ended, in spite of all Aileen Wuornos had done, there was this sense of sympathy for her. And a heavy sadness that a human being should fall through the cracks to such an extent as to end up with a life like that woman led.

After seeing the movie, I had questions about Aileen Wuonos and others depicted in the movie. I knew what happened to her, but what happened to the others, particularly her companion? So I did some reading up on Aileen Wuonos. And as silly as I know THIS sounds, I felt used.

While the movie Monster does admit to being “based on” the life of Aileen Wuornos, does anyone really watch one of those types movies not believing what they’re seeing while they’re seeing it? I mean, if you’re not familiar with the subject, you tend to just go with the flow not really being able to separate fact from fiction and not taking the time to try to sort it all out. As a result, you’re sucked into the mood and the story being presented to you. It didn’t work for me during the airing of The Reagans because I knew about the Reagans before CBS took hold of their story and trashed them, but I knew far less about Aileen Wuornos, so I was believing Monster as it was being revealed to me.

Here’s the part where I have a huge problem with the Hollywood Lefties. When I read up on Aileen Wuornos, I discovered that the movie has altered a great many details of her life merely to suit the story line. This isn’t the story of Aileen Wuonos nearly so much as it is the pathetic portrayal of a life gone to hell. And not to say that Aileen Wuornos’ life wasn’t a life in hell, because in many ways it was. It just wasn’t the way movie makers made it out it be. Aileen Wuonos killed 7 men. She was a highway prostitute who put herself into every single solitary one of the positions that ended up in the murder of someone she was with. In other words, no matter what happened to her in her life, when it came to those murders, she was no one’s victim. So why portray her that way? Why change so many of the details of her life to make her far worse off than she was? Why lie in the first place by telling me this is the story of her life when, in fact, it is so loosely based on her life as to be nothing more than her name attached to the character Charlize Theron portrayed?

The Hollywood Lefties don’t represent movies like Monster as documentaries, so they are easily let off the hook when their work is challenged as bogus. These absurd “docudramas” are supposed to give whatever creative license the Lefties want to an agenda that goes beyond a simple story line. What they do, in fact, is pad as much creative lying into the product as it will stand and then force feed it to audiences as “based on” story telling.

My understanding of the movie Monster was that I would find out something I didn’t know about Aileen Wuornos, a rather notorious character in the annals of crime. Instead, the movie was a venue to show me what a talented actress Charlize Theron is. That could have been accomplished without dragging Aileen Wuonos into it at all. And further, it should have been accomplished without making her a sympathetic character at the expense of the 7 men she murdered.

So, if you want to see a well done movie, by all means watch Monster. If you want to know about Aileen Wuornos, look at anything BUT this movie because it’s garbage.

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About Punditz

  • punditz, i find this all a bit odd. You’re review was excellent, don’t get me wrong. But i find i disagree with most everything you say. (yeah, folks, it’s possible to know when somethings good without neccesarily agreeing with it. Which, fittingly enough, was kind of the point of your post.)
    Whilst Monster does indeed play fairly loose with the facts (Selby, for example, is an amalgamation of a couple characters) the story of Aileen Wuornos is still a very, very sad one. I recommend you see Nick Bloomfield’s two documentaries on the subject. I wrote reviews of this and the bloomfield flicks a while back. You can find them here;

    Aileen Wuornos – The Selling Of A Serial Killer

    Aileen Wuornos – The Life And Death Of A Serial Killer


    Be interested to compare the old opinions and so on.

  • The main point I wanted to make in reviewing this movie is that it is NOT an accurate representation of the life of Aileen Wuornos. It seemed to me that it wouldn’t have been appropriate to trash the movie completely because seen strictly as a piece of celluloid, it was very well done. What was quite shabby and very poorly done, in my opinion, was using Aileen Wuornos as the subject of the film. If her life had to be so fictionalized as to bear little resemblance to real events, then why use her as the source material at all? Why not simply allow Charlize Theron to be excellent as a deranged serial killer from Florida?

    It’s my opinion that if someone’s life story is going to be used to create a movie or a book — whatever — than there is some obligation on the part of the creator of this work to keep it somewhat real. I really wanted to know what happened to “Shelby” when the movie ended, and I thought it odd that this information was missing from the scrolling info when the film ended. Then I discovered that there was no Shelby. It doesn’t matter to me that she was a composit of several people; the point is that there was no Shelby. I see it as that black and white. I don’t want to make finding out what REALLY happened to Aileen Wuornos a focus of my attention. She ruthlessly killed 7 men, and she didn’t have to do it. To create such an overwhelmingly sympathetic character from that, which I believe the movie did, was to desecrate the memory of at least 6 of those men. She killed them once. Did they have to be further violated by dishing up a heavy-handed look-what-society-did-to-this-poor-woman Hollywood fantasy? I believe that’s something to be ashamed of; not something to be awarded.

    While some may find themselves able to feel sympathy or compassion for Aileen Wuornos, I believe the manipulation of emotion toward that end in this movie was shameful. What about her victims? I found it repugnant that I was manipulated with false information to consider Wuornos rather than the men she killed. This movie could have been made without mentioning Aileen Wuornos at all and had exactly the same impact. It is my opinion that this is the way it should have been done.

  • Hollywood have always done this. Rent U-571 – guess what, in actuality there wasn’t a single American involved in that submarine conflict, it was really the British. Oh well, that’s entertainment for you.

    I think the problem is that people still expect reality and Hollywood to co-exist. No matter what they claim I think we should use our noggin more and realize that it’s all magic and make-believe.

    Once you come to terms with this you can just sit back and enjoy the movie rather than worrying about ‘the truth’. Without this acceptance I never would have enjoyed the brilliance that was Braveheart, Titanic, Gladiator, The last Samurai or A beautiful Mind – all of which claim to portray real events but have been twisted out of all recognition.

    Of course, Hollywood should also act more grown-up and not tell us it’s a true story in the first place.

    Monster was a fine film, it had some excellent qualities, most notably the atmospheric lighting and set compositions, and of course Theron’s acting is deservedly lauded.

  • I read the information from your links, and I do understand your point. It’s just that it’s not the point I was trying to make with what I had to say about the film. I’m a movie junkie – I do know how to enjoy a movie. On the one hand there’s Titanic or Gangs Of New York which made an enormous deal of having accuracy in so many details of the movies. And then there’s A Beautiful Mind and Monster that didn’t even come close to accuracy. I understand this may not matter to you; it matters to me. I agree Monster was well done; but as Aileen Wuornos’ life story which it represented itself to be, it sucked.

  • DinaRina

    Why is it impossible for conservatives to talk more than two minutes on any subject without attacking liberals? Stick to the issues, m’am! Attacking liberals is just venting and it detracts from the validity of the argument.

    No, I’m not a liberal.

  • Alex

    As far as I know, Monster wasn’t so insanely inaccurate that we should denounce it as trash (as Aileen Wuornos’ life story). Tyria Moore, Aileen’s real lover, was changed into Selby for legal reasons. That, in itself, could not be helped. The film shows four murders instead of seven probably just to spare the audience some gore. As far as I know, there is evidence to suggest one murder was self-defense (the victim had served ten years in another state for rape crimes). I think the pathetic, paranoid and ultimately murderous character of Aileen was conveyed. It was a dangerous move to try and evoke so much sympathy for her, though, I agree. She still killed those men.

  • Sarah

    She was executed in 2002 not 1992 it was actually Oct.9th of 2002 after she was on death row for 12 years.