Monster's Ball (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Monster's Ball (2002)



Critic Consensus: Somber and thought provoking, Monster's Ball has great performances all around.

Monster's Ball Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Director Marc Forster, winner of Best Feature at Slamdance for his debut film Loungers (1996) and the "Someone to Watch" Independent Spirit Award for his indie drama Everything Put Together (2000), follows up those acclaimed projects with this intense, racially charged romance. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Georgia prison guard Hank Grotowski, a hard-drinking racist ex-cop whose father, Buck (Peter Boyle), is dying of emphysema and whose son, Sonny (Heath Ledger), works the execution detail at the prison's death row. When Sonny commits suicide, Hank is devastated and quits his job, spiraling into a deep depression until, one night, he comes to the aid of Leticia (Halle Berry), a beautiful African-American woman whose son, Tyrell (Coronji Calhoun), has been hit by a car. When Tyrell dies, Leticia and Hank find themselves to be unexpected soul mates linked together by tragic grief. It's not long before Hank discovers that Leticia is the widow of Lawrence Musgrove (Sean Combs), the man whose execution by electric chair he and his late son helped to orchestrate. Monster's Ball (2001) is based on a screenplay by actors Milo Addica and Will Rokos, who spent five years developing their script into a feature. Their title refers to the name of an English tradition requiring jailers to throw a party for a condemned man on the night before his death. ~ Karl Williams, Rovimore
Rating: R (Rated R for strong sexual content, language and violence.)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Milo Addica, Will Rokos, Will Rokos
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 11, 2002
Box Office: $31.3M
Lions Gate Films Inc. - Official Site


Halle Berry
as Leticia
Yasiin Bey
as Ryrus Cooper
John McConnell
as Harvey Shoonmaker
Marcus Lyle Brown
as Phil Higgins
Milo Addica
as Tommy Roulaine
Larry Lee
as Co No. 1
Troy Poret
as Co No. 2
Paul Smith
as Co No. 3
Marshall Cain
as Correction Officer
Will Rokos
as Warden Velasco
John Wilmot
as Minister
Jamie Haven
as Hospital Guard
Clara Daniels
as Maggie Cooper
Carol Sutton
as Mrs. Guillermo
John "Spud" McConnel...
as Harvey Shoonmaker
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Monster's Ball

Critic Reviews for Monster's Ball

All Critics (153) | Top Critics (42)

It's not a polemic on the death penalty, race relations or family dynamics. It's a character study that really sticks with you.

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

A serious movie made by seriously talented people, and I never quite came 'round to it.

Full Review… | July 20, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

This brutal movie is for adults only.

Full Review… | December 26, 2010
Common Sense Media

Though marred by script that telegraphs its messages, this drama still manages to tell a compelling love story betweenn a redneck guard and a black widow, well played by Billy Bob Thronton and particularly Halle Berre, who should get Oscar nomination

Full Review… | December 25, 2006

Forster makes us too intimate with these characters. But, heavy-handed and derivative as it is, its lead actors strike some resonant chords....

Full Review… | December 6, 2004
Looking Closer

Forster's poised direction, as well as powerful turns from Billy Bob Thornton and the Oscar-winning Halle Berry, make this compelling viewing.

Full Review… | March 2, 2003
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Monster's Ball

This serious character study nor the performances managed to keep me engaged. Found it utterly boring & frustratingly slow. Not sure if I'll ever grow up enough to be able to appreciate such works if at all they deserve it.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

Halle Berry's Oscar win for this one was well-deserved and more. The film itself is heart-wrenching for me. It is through loss and grieve that these two main characters find each other. Both of them are so beautifully tragic and so brilliantly interpreted by these two great actors. Quite somber but a must-see.

Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

A film this emotional, and working in every way, is extremely hard to come by these days, because filmmakers usually do not pay close enough attention to the little details in creation a true human drama. Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry give the performances of their careers and the supporting cast of Heath Ledger and Sean Combs really holds up as well. Everyone brings their A-Game to this picture and it really does show. As an ex-cop falls for the wife of one of his death row inmates, death comes around every corner and the film becomes very hard to watch, with not many happy moments, if any. It is perfectly editing, the direction is immaculate, the script is far more than suitable for this particular subject, and the score of the film fits better than anything I have seen in a long time. "Monsters Ball" is easily one of my favourite films.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Monster's Ball Quotes

Hank Grotowski: I quit!
– Submitted by Jesse K (3 years ago)
Hank Grotowski: I think we're going to be alright.
– Submitted by Jillian L (4 years ago)
Sonny Grotowski: You hate me. Answer me! You hate me don't you?!
Hank Grotowski: Yes, I hate you. I always did.
Sonny Grotowski: Well I always loved you. [shoots himself]
– Submitted by Nikoleta P (4 years ago)
Lawrence Musgrove: I've always believed that a portrait captures a person far better than a photograph. It truly takes a human being to really see a human being.
– Submitted by Nikoleta P (4 years ago)

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