What a tortured life this woman led; a life of inferiority, confusion, violence, victimisation, prostitution, anger and ultimately, murder. Charlize Theron's utter transformation is what drives this film, her performance and physical emulation perfectly conveying the pain of her character. Personally, I feel the Oscars are a farce, but this performance truly deserved commendation.
'Monster' is the story of Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute from Florida who murdered seven men over the period of a year. The film gives a very human representation of Wuornos. One might think that the film's title would suggest otherwise; Wuornos was indeed a 'monster' in her final years, but the film's emphasis on the brutal, relentless path that led to her first killing shows the architecture of such a creation. But not for a second, I hasten to add, does the film condone her violence, she isn't glorified and she isn't vilified either, the film is so very downbeat and visceral that it would be impossible for anyone to be allured by it. 'Monster' is by no means the tale of one woman standing up against chauvinist pigs; her truly harrowing tale of nature, nurture and the consequences of violence is impartially told.
The film reflects on Wurnos' childhood, a time of sexual favours, inadequacy, rape and beatings. A narrative gap, which misses a dubious failed marriage and numerous arrests, presents the viewer with a sorry picture, a woman who washes in petrol station toilets; a woman who is desperately trying to make ends meet. She then meets a companion, the vulnerable Selby Moore. It's at this point that the film strays from the facts; 'Selby Moore' is a fictional character, very loosely based, especially in appearance, to Tyria Moore, Wuornos' lover until her execution.
The pair, who have moved in together, live off Wuornos' prostitution wage until their relationship is complicated by Moore's discovery of Wuornos' taste for violence. The film depicts the first murder as Wuornos described it; self defence. Her first victim was Richard Mallory, a convicted rapist. Aileen stated that he raped and savaged her, so she shot him. I'm digressing slightly, but I believe this to be true; Mallory would've thought Wuornos to be trash, expendable social underclass who would be an easy thrill with no consequences. I respect that the scene was orchestrated in this manner.
Monster is a stark and balanced insight into the frankly miserable life of Aileen Wuornos. Everyone is given one life; Aileen Wuornos was given hers.