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Aileen - Life and Death of a Serial Killer

Aileen - Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 57
Fresh: 49 | Rotten: 8

This chilling, unsettling documentary provides an eye-opening look at both Wuornos and the American justice system.


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 22
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 2

This chilling, unsettling documentary provides an eye-opening look at both Wuornos and the American justice system.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 7,066

My Rating

Movie Info

Nonfiction filmmaker Nick Broomfield and his frequent collaborator Joan Churchill return to the subject of an earlier film, Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, for Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer. Twelve years after the first film was made, Wuornos was still in contact with Broomfield from her cell on death row, and he was called as a witness in her final death penalty appeal before the state. Clips of the earlier film were used by defense lawyers to help make the case that

Jun 1, 2004

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All Critics (63) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (8) | DVD (11)

The film stands quite chillingly as a final statement from a woman trying to fight her own commodification.

May 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A haunting exploration of a ruined and wasted life.

April 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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[T]his movie literally gave me the chills.

February 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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Engrossing, educational, amusing and disturbing.

February 13, 2004
Washington Post
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Provides an opportunity to study one of history's supposed anomalies: a female serial killer.

February 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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Does afford a real-life view of Wuornos during the days of her final appeal and her ultimate date with death.

February 13, 2004
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Além de investigar com maior profundidade as origens da violência de Aileen, o documentário ainda comprova a perfeição da performance de Charlize Theron em Monster.

January 31, 2005
Cinema em Cena

Broomfield's misplaced exasperation is almost poignant.

May 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Aileen is, if anything, a scathing indictment against the death penalty and its proponents, keeping with the concept that all life is precious.

May 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

[Broomfield's] least exploitative, most personal work to date

May 2, 2004 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Not even Charlize Theron's lauded portrayal of the accused can compete with the captivating genuine article, whose calculated professions of remorse barely conceal her festering rage at a lifetime of mistreatment.

April 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

Though unpleasant to watch, Life and Death of a Serial Killer presents a portrait of evil, betrayal and banality that's almost impossible to take your eyes off of.

April 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Oregonian

While I prefer more even-handed approaches to documentary film, there’s no denying the power of the footage, particularly that featuring [Aileen] Wuornos.

April 9, 2004

This compassionate documentary should be of strong interest to viewers of the previous Wuornos film or the current Monster.

April 9, 2004 Full Review Source:

It's clear Theron didn't so much resemble [Wuornos] as she did channel her deeply tormented soul, in a way that Broomfield never manages to do.

April 8, 2004
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The filmmaker misses too many opportunities by focusing too much on himself.

April 2, 2004 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Even as Broomfield inserts himself (as usual) into the narrative, Wuornos grabs the spotlight with all of her wild-eyed fury.

April 2, 2004 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

As much about the culture that produces and fears, consumes and condemns, an Aileen Wuornos as it is about Aileen Wuornos.

March 23, 2004 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Broomfield, who keeps himself in the frame as he investigates, tells the story with the panache of a pulp true-crime author.

March 12, 2004 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Just as Broomfield's latest points a harsh light on those who profited from her death, so too does he stray into their territory, giving a broken woman one final humiliation.

March 4, 2004 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Aileen - Life and Death of a Serial Killer

Nick Bloomfield's follow up to Selling of a Serial Killer is a much more rounded out film than the previous film. In the first film, Aileen Wuornos told her jury that she committed the murders in self defense. In this film, she admits that she did it not out of self defense, but in order to rob them. I felt that Bloomfield put a lot more effort into this film and it has new interviews with Wuornos and how she is prepared to face her execution. The film is quite interesting and using footage from the first film, while adding new interviews, it tells a more in depth story into her life. Bloomfield interviews the people who knew her, and chronicles her life in a way that is quite engaging for the viewer. The detail in this documentary is well thought out. This film shows everything right up to her execution. Aileen Wuornos was interviewed many times here and her final interview before her execution is here. In terms of documentaries, this is a well rounded out documentary that recounts a very interesting subject. Wournos was very delusional, and during her last interview she just loses it. Overall Nick Bloomfield has made a great film, but is not a film for everyone. She clearly was unfit for execution and she was fairly insane. Even with her being cleared by psychologists, by what you see here, you really see that this is a woman that is clearly not sane, and should have been given life imprisonment instead. This film might make you ask questions about how executions should be carried out and that people with mental illness should be locked up instead. A fine documentary, and a must see for those interested in the subject.
November 19, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Once again, Broomfield makes a successful case from Aileen for Aileen. The film is much ado about nothing, but you can't lose the opportunity to cash the case.
April 1, 2012

Super Reviewer

Subpoenaed as a witness at a late appeal by Aileen Wuornos against her death sentence, filmmaker Nick Broomfield received a heaven-sent opportunity to improve upon his disappointing documentary The Selling of a Serial Killer. Having watched both films in close succession, the most disturbing thing about Life and Death... is Wuornos' very evident mental deterioration in the intervening years. When Broomfield first met Aileen she was angry and defiant, slightly delusional perhaps, but perfectly lucid; here, after a decade on death row, she is still angry and defiant but there are times when she can barely follow a thought to its conclusion or string a coherent sentence together. She resembles one of those caged animals that has been held in captivity too long, going round in circles, dreaming up ever more paranoid fantasies of police corruption and her own persecution. Even if you manage to convince yourself that the act of executing a person who is mentally ill is not in itself unconstitutionally cruel, dangling the hangman's noose in front of a sane person for so long that she becomes, by her own admission, "so fucking mad I can't see straight" surely is. Very depressing but utterly riveting.
October 3, 2009

Super Reviewer

As someone with a psychological interest in killers, I found this documentary most facsinating, anyone who enjoyed the film Monster and would like to see the real Aileen would find this interesting
February 12, 2009

Super Reviewer

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