Monster - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Monster Reviews

Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
January 21, 2004
Ms. Theron has ventured far beyond mere surface impersonation -- although that is startling enough -- to an insightful penetration of her subject's psyche.
Top Critic
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
January 16, 2004
In the same way the beefed-up Theron fills the movie's tightly composed frames to bursting while pushing everything else to the margins, her showstopping rage blows through film like a tornado.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
January 16, 2004
Brutal, brilliant, depressing and riveting.
| Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
January 16, 2004
A small movie with a gigantic performance by Charlize Theron.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
January 16, 2004
If the film is a bit too soft on its subject, it is even more taken with its leading lady. Theron overwhelms.
| Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
January 16, 2004
The hype around the film Monster is justified by the performance of Charlize Theron.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
January 16, 2004
First-time director Patty Jenkins takes us inside a year in Wuornos' turbulent life, building her movie around Theron's dynamite performance, raw, exposed and nerve-wracking in its immediacy.
| Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
January 16, 2004
[An] intricate and tender movie.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
January 15, 2004
[Theron] captures the essence of the woman, a lifelong victim who preys on her customers with the determined sadness of someone who has finally snapped inside.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 15, 2004
There's Theron, like a force of nature, compelling us to go beyond TV-movie supposition and look Wuornos straight in the eye.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 15, 2004
Theron digs so deep into her doomed character that it's impossible not to feel empathy.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
January 9, 2004
An okay movie made nearly great by one great thing: the bravura, mercilessly watchable performance of Charlize Theron.
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 9, 2004
Improbable as it sounds in such a brutal protagonist, Aileen has a three-dimensional credibility.
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
January 9, 2004
Walks a very delicate line: It doesn't excuse or glamorize the actions of its main character, serial killer Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron), but it does offer an understanding of her -- or, at least, of the version of Wuornos this film presents.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
January 9, 2004
Its series of weak excuses and cliched insights illuminate nothing, and the movie ends up little more than a lesbian slasher flick.
| Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
January 9, 2004
Theron's work here stands with that of Jennifer Connelly, Hope Davis, Naomi Watts, Cate Blanchett and Charlotte Rampling as one of the best female performances of 2003.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 9, 2004
There's the uncanny sensation that Theron has forgotten the camera and the script and is directly channeling her ideas about Aileen Wuornos. She has made herself the instrument of this character.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
January 9, 2004
A gruesome, helpless spiral barely saved by an actress locating humanity where few would have cared to bother.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 8, 2004
Brings the horror stories of everyday life down to a recognizable level.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
January 8, 2004
Monster is a brave, unsettling film, a little rough around the edges but unflinching to the end.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
January 8, 2004
Digging deep down, Theron and the movie give us empty lives, desperate romance and murderous rage. They bring a monster to life.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 8, 2004
Isn't entirely the movie it could be but, as is, it's still compelling.
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
Los Angeles Times
January 2, 2004
Phony choppers and a startling resemblance to Jon Voight aren't enough to transform Theron into Wuornos, and I didn't buy either the performance or the character for a second.
| Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
December 27, 2003
Charlize Theron pours herself into the body and mind of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Patty Jenkins' devastating directing debut.
Top Critic
Carla Meyer
San Francisco Chronicle
December 26, 2003
Heavier, with bad teeth and blotchy skin, Theron is nearly unrecognizable in the role. She's also astonishingly good.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
December 26, 2003
What takes it to the level of important cinema ... is the central Selby-Wuornos relationship, which turns out to be symbiotic in the manner of the Smith-Hickock relationship in In Cold Blood.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 26, 2003
This isn't a portrait; it's a posthumous grounds for an appeal.
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
December 25, 2003
It will be hard to lure audiences to this downer, but its acute understanding of such a monster's misery furthers our comprehension of how and why human atrocities occur.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Megan Lehmann
New York Post
December 25, 2003
Jenkins doesn't stint on the sickening reality of Wuornos' abhorrent behavior -- it's Theron's complex, deeply felt depiction of a thoroughly messed-up soul that forces us to look beyond the monstrous nature of her acts.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
December 23, 2003
As Aileen Wuornos, the notorious Florida murderer, Charlize Theron pulls off the year's most astounding screen makeover.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 23, 2003
A compelling, thought-provoking, and unsettling drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
December 23, 2003
A frank, spare, but ultimately heartbreaking movie.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
December 23, 2003
[Theron] plays an unredeemable woman with uncompromising reality. That's a powerful accomplishment, even if Monster never quite figures out what to do with it.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
David Rooney
Variety
December 23, 2003
The drama's uncompromising nature and, above all, Charlize Theron's powerful, physically astonishing performance should attract the kind of critical attention necessary to mine the specialized niche.
Top Critic
Laura Sinagra
Village Voice
December 23, 2003
Since Jenkins and Ricci never allow Wall to become more than a curious cipher with a Billy Idol sneer ... our outsider vantage makes for an ultimately unsatisfying voyeurism.
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
December 18, 2003
Wuornos was a far more complex creature than most accounts of her will allow, and Patty Jenkins' tough and tender movie has caught the contradictions of a woman stranded between unwarranted hope and unavoidable despair.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
December 16, 2003
Theron breaks through with a ferocious performance -- a real career-changer.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
December 8, 2003
... an amazing piece of work.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
November 18, 2003
Yes, the story is an ugly one, but the actresses command our attention and demand we confront this unrepentant 'monster' to examine her humanity.