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Monster's Ball (2001)

tomatometer

85

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 142
Fresh: 121 | Rotten: 21

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

78

Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 40
Fresh: 31 | Rotten: 9

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

audience

67

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 56,761

My Rating

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

R,

Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense

Milo Addica, Will Rokos

Jun 11, 2002

$31.3M

Lions Gate Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (153) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (121) | Rotten (21) | DVD (36)

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

November 6, 2002 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

July 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Comments (5)
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A textbook example of fearless filmmaking, exhibiting a brand of gritty realism that's hard to watch but impossible to ignore.

March 4, 2002
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Forster] tells his story with directness and simplicity and without the high hallmarks of the soaps' gooey emotional lubrication.

February 16, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A powerful and poignant motion picture not about racism and redemption, as one might initially suppose, but about one of the most urgent and universal of human needs -- that of finding solace for pain and loneliness.

February 10, 2002 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though the film can initially seem off-putting, Monster's Ball slowly and quietly gets under your skin.

February 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This brutal movie is for adults only.

December 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
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

December 25, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

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

December 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Looking Closer
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.

March 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Thornton and Berry show us what acting is in this movie.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

Halle Berry turns in an amazing performance.

January 29, 2003
Cinema Sight

Recalls Tender Mercies, another astutely acted character study that remained resolutely small-scale and was all the more affecting because it didn't overreach.

December 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Movieline
Movieline

Much of the film works, performances all around are better than the script, and the whole (especially the first part) is well directed by Marc Forster.

October 21, 2002 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

A fine film that packs enormous ambition into a modest, carefully executed package.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

In a movie season already nourished with tales of domestic despair, Monster's Ball is the most complex, naturalistic, and sympathetic.

August 26, 2002 Full Review

less a love story than a movie about love - about how it leeches into disparate hearts and desperate circumstances, about raw and unlikely and redemptive it can be

July 26, 2002 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

How nice it must be to be Hank, the strong man, swooping in to be Leticia's knight-in-shining-armor. How convenient, also, that this woman happens to be as beautiful as Halle Berry.

July 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Marc Forster's downbeat Southern drama really is a low-rent version of Carl Franklin's powerful One False Move

June 14, 2002 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

A great film. Considers genuine personalities and extreme feelings, and lingers in the mind, holding some kind of spell over us long after it has ended.

June 10, 2002

There is so little love in this movie - it's really depressing. It's hard to buy into the rapid transformation that Billy Bob Thornton's character makes. You either believe the chemistry between the two actors, or you don't - I didn't.

June 7, 2002 Full Review Source: TheMovieChicks.com

Sadness engulfs the people in this provocative drama like a dense fog, leaving them with little sense of direction or purpose except trying to get by each day. Stunning performances!

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

In its deliberate pacing and its jolting turns, the movie is reminiscent of director Casi Lemmons' "Eve's Bayou," another Southern tale swamped in moodiness.

June 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

A Última Ceia mergulha sem reservas no triste universo de seus protagonistas, retratando-os de forma honesta e, justamente por isso, despertando reações ambíguas na platéia.

May 30, 2002 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Audience Reviews for Monster's Ball

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.
January 17, 2014
Raajay

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.
August 16, 2013
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

    1. Hank Grotowski: I quit!
    – Submitted by Jesse K (22 months ago)
    1. Hank Grotowski: I think we're going to be alright.
    – Submitted by Jillian L (2 years ago)
    1. Sonny Grotowski: You hate me. Answer me! You hate me don't you?!
    2. Hank Grotowski: Yes, I hate you. I always did.
    3. Sonny Grotowski: Well I always loved you. [shoots himself]
    – Submitted by Nikoleta P (3 years ago)
    1. 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 (3 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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