Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. 100
    This is one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema.
  2. 91
    This is harsh and acid stuff, but it's exhilarating on a number of counts. For one thing, Jenkins moves with real authority between scenes of low life, tender intimacy and gripping violence; made on the cheap, her film has the iron certainty of the best art.
  3. Reviewed by: Mark Sells
    A film that you can appreciate, but it’s also one that may be difficult to watch. Because it is so course, because it is so authentic, and because the characters are so real, you feel a closeness to Lee that may be uncomfortable.
  4. 90
    Monster is a compassionate picture without any obvious agenda. And it's effective precisely because it's not a polemic.
  5. This is a powerhouse of a film, but not for the obvious reasons that it's about a female serial killer, scampering lesbians and whatever. The project's strength instead emerges from a sense of nobility and purpose in honoring its characters.
  6. Theron has rendered herself 100 percent unrecognizable. Not since Robert De Niro morphed into hulk dimensions to play heavyweight boxer Jake La Motta in "Raging Bull" has there been a transformation this powerful and effective.
  7. 90
    If the notoriously squeamish and slumberous members of the Academy can pull themselves together and face Monster, they should know whom to vote for as the best actress of the year. [26 January 2004, p. 84]
  8. It is Theron who transmutes and sustains this journey through the lower depths.
  9. Doesn’t provide any answers, and that’s both its strength and weakness.
  10. 88
    A compelling, thought-provoking, and unsettling drama.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 102 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 56
  2. Negative: 4 out of 56
  1. May 25, 2011
    Charlize Theron delivers with one of the best acting performances of cinema history, and shows she truly deserves an oscar for this one. the script seems nice but sometimes it's quite boring or predictable. Full Review »
  2. Sep 1, 2014
    Charlize Theron gives one of the greatest performances of all-time in her embodiment of a serial killer. Monster will challenge your mind and where you heart stands. It's moving. Full Review »
  3. Aug 15, 2014
    This one is a pretty good biopic that provides a fair picture of a serial killer, who is portrayed brilliantly by Charlize Theron, who goes from being of the most beautiful women in Hollywood in many films to one of the ugliest people I have ever seen in this one in an amazing transformation. Christina Ricci's performance here is also quite strong, though she does get overshadowed by Theron's towering performance. As with many biopics, this one struggles to drum up enough drama to keep you interested, though it managed to always remain something that was intriguing to watch unfold. Ultimately, there is just not much to say about this one. For the most part, it is your usual biopic, except this time it is about a serial killer. The film does many things well, but none of it is great, except for Theron's performance, which really makes the film. There is nothing I can really point to that I did not enjoy here, I just did not love any of it. As a whole, Monster is a pretty good little film that packs a powerful performance from Charlize Theron. Full Review »