User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 110 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 83 out of 110
  2. Negative: 16 out of 110
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  1. BillR.
    Feb 12, 2004
    4
    "Aileen and Selby never spoke again." It's just like the 'Monster's Ball' hype circus all over again. What drew the oh-so-esteemed critics' attention to this stunted junk? I'm seriously confused. (Casual note to self: Never go out of my way in the near future to view any widely acclaimed limited release featuring the word 'Monster' in the title, at "Aileen and Selby never spoke again." It's just like the 'Monster's Ball' hype circus all over again. What drew the oh-so-esteemed critics' attention to this stunted junk? I'm seriously confused. (Casual note to self: Never go out of my way in the near future to view any widely acclaimed limited release featuring the word 'Monster' in the title, at least until it leaves the big screen. It will most likely be utterly facile, plus offer absurd gender/race/social-issue politics and pretty bad scenery-chewing starlet spotlight front & centre.) Expand
  2. DennisP.
    Jun 10, 2004
    5
    Good performances from Theron and Ricci, but I just couldn't buy into the love story between the hideous killer Wuornos and the cute, innocent Shelby. The real Shelby was actually Tyria Moore, who had red hair and was a big-boned girl, overweight and homely. If the movie had portrayed Shelby/Tyria a little closer to reality, this could have been a powerful film.
  3. Rico
    Jun 4, 2004
    5
    Ms. Theron's performance is indeed amazing but the movie itself is average. The subject matter was better covered on the TV show American Justice.
  4. Angela
    Mar 8, 2004
    6
    The film maintained an amateurish tone that was set by the cliched voiceover device that opened the film. The film continued to shock and bother me; it seemed to walk a very fine line between pornography and drama. Still, the film's final moments moved me monumentally, and I left the theater not hating it as I had anticipated earlier on in the film, but wondering what would have The film maintained an amateurish tone that was set by the cliched voiceover device that opened the film. The film continued to shock and bother me; it seemed to walk a very fine line between pornography and drama. Still, the film's final moments moved me monumentally, and I left the theater not hating it as I had anticipated earlier on in the film, but wondering what would have happened if the entire film had been so compassionate. Then the film would be deserving of the praise it is collected. Theron was certainly good, but I think that she was more so praised because of her physical transformation. Ellen Burstyn, for example, who underwent a similarly dramatic physical change for her role in Requiem for a Dream, was exponentially more heartbreaking and convincing, but the hype over Monster sealed Theron's success. People swooned over the supermodel destroying her body for a role, though other actresses have gone to similar lengths, people seemed anxious to give Theron the ONE Oscar she would ever have the chance of getting. There were indeed better performances this year, and yes, as reviews below have noted, Watts was certainly better. Expand
  5. JohnM.
    Apr 27, 2004
    4
    Theron's performance is more so a conglomeration of mannerisms than a real performance. She never really seemed to become Aileen rather than mimic her, almost condescendingly. I found her voice over narration cloying and inept, the storyline manipulative (strange how as the murders progress, they become more and more 'shocking'), and her relationship with Selby was founded Theron's performance is more so a conglomeration of mannerisms than a real performance. She never really seemed to become Aileen rather than mimic her, almost condescendingly. I found her voice over narration cloying and inept, the storyline manipulative (strange how as the murders progress, they become more and more 'shocking'), and her relationship with Selby was founded on such unbelievable grounds that I could never take them seriously. Very nice use of 80's songs though (particularly the roller rink scene which I can't expel from memory), and I must admit, and by the end, I was strangely moved by the scene where they speak on the telephone. Still, the movie felt entirely superficial to me. It's all meat, and no bones. Expand
  6. JohnS.
    Jun 23, 2004
    4
    The story is so bored with itself, it collapses -- but the diverse troupe of dance talents at least makes it an eclectic slide.
  7. WilliamB.
    Jan 28, 2004
    6
    A great performance from Theron, but a turgid and over-rated film. The sort of film that snags the Oscar, and then is eventually forgotten.
  8. Noelle
    Jan 31, 2004
    5
    Actually, I HAVE seen Monster and 21 Grams and Naomi Watts is CLEARLY more deserved of the Best Actress award. Theron is either on or off, and she is just too much most of the time, though toward the end of the film, she is rather incredible. Still, the film itself is shoddily composed and thoroughly unconvincing in its first half. Hooray for Naomi Watts! The award BELONGS to you.
  9. TyS.
    Jan 26, 2005
    6
    Some great performances but really a very non factual account of what this woman did. To see just how incorrect this depiction is read here. http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/death/US/wuornos805.htm
  10. [Anonymous]
    Jul 27, 2005
    6
    Theron's performance is great, and her reason for her murders seems almost justified. But did they have to elope?!!! Great performances are countered with disgusting scenes like the one i mentioned above.
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Challenges audiences with an unrelieved portrait of self-destruction and horrific violence. American movies don't get much grimmer than this.
  2. Theron breaks through with a ferocious performance--a real career-changer.
  3. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    70
    Gritty and compelling as Monster is, the script's not entirely satisfying elaboration of the central relationship and Ricci's somewhat ungiving performance limit the material to that of a superior telemovie rather than something emotionally richer, like "Boys Don't Cry."