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Monster's Ball (2001)

TOMATOMETER

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

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

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

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

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 56,820

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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 … More

Rating:
R (Rated R for strong sexual content, language and violence.)
Genre:
Drama , Romance , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
Milo Addica , Will Rokos
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Jun 11, 2002
Box Office:
$31.3M
Runtime:
Lions Gate Films - Official Site


Cast



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Critic Reviews for Monster's Ball

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.

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

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

[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

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.

Full Review… | February 10, 2002
ReelViews
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 8, 2002
Seattle Times
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
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....

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

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

Full Review… | February 8, 2003
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.

Full Review… | December 2, 2002
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.

Full Review… | October 21, 2002
San Diego Metropolitan

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

Full Review… | October 15, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

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

Full Review… | August 26, 2002

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

Full Review… | July 26, 2002
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.

Full Review… | July 12, 2002
Window to the Movies

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

Full Review… | June 14, 2002
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.

Full Review… | June 7, 2002

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!

Full Review… | June 5, 2002
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.

Full Review… | June 3, 2002
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.

Full Review… | May 30, 2002
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.

More
Raajay
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.

More
KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

½

Monster Ball is a creepy and emotional film that gave me a lot of respect for Halle Berry as she plays a incredible role, and the story was also very interesting and great, I really enjoyed Monster Ball.

More
DreamExtractor
Jim Careter

Super Reviewer

½

"Monster's Ball" is at once a overwrought and grating film while also managing to be complex and rewarding. What ultimately makes the film work is the fatalistic nature of the narrative. The performances are solid all around, with Billy Bob Thornton, Peter Boyle and Heath Ledger fulfilling completely different physical representations of masculinity. Halle Berry on the other hand, who delivers a raw, ugly and risky performance is more admirable for the places she tries to go than what she actually achieves. Berry is the first African American to ever be awarded an Oscar for Best Actress and the accolade is not entirely deserved here, in my opinion. Still, "Monster's Ball" has an intriguing script and daring performances, two things that always warrant at least one viewing of a film.

More
stevenecarrier
Steven Carrier

Super Reviewer

Monster's Ball Quotes


Hank Grotowski:
I quit!
– Submitted by Jesse K (24 months ago)
Hank Grotowski:
I think we're going to be alright.
– Submitted by Jillian L (2 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 (3 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 (3 years ago)

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