Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 59


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,284
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Movie Info

Nick Broomfield's documentary looks at Aileen's violent, tortured childhood in Troy, Michigan and her subsequent years on the road as a hitch-hiking prostitute which culminated in the murders. In her last interview, conducted by Broomfield at Aileen's request, she said she believed her mind was being controlled by radio waves. On October 9th 2002 she was executed in Florida.

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Critic Reviews for Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (23)

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

  • Jan 13, 2016
    Broomfield's second film about Aileen sheds more light on her life and her mind after a decade on death row but also feels like an appendix of his first film, a bit redundant for anyone who has seen that one and not much more than an excuse for closure after her execution.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 19, 2013
    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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Feb 28, 2013
    This 2003 film is Nick Broomfield's (Director) second Documentary on the American serial killer; Aileen Wuornos. The story begins around the time of Aileen's final death penalty appeal (that Broomfield testifies in). I think that the film paints a clear picture that if Aileen would have lived a different life and had different experiences then the prostitution, the murders and the whole situation would never have occurred. As it is, her story is a tragic one, with equally tragic consequences. Although the film is sound technically and does allow the viewer into areas that they (perhaps) could not go with other filmmakers, the documentary does "flit-about" and (at times) struggles to flow. It is called "Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer" and although her life was covered, I expected to have a lot more background information. The history of events leading up to the present are touched on very lightly and not covered in any great depth. I found myself getting confused between Father and Grandfather, and Mother and Grandmother. Although confusing in parts I did find it a very engaging film. It held my attention throughout and left me wanting to know more. I must stress that certain attitudes and procedures seem a little inappropriate in the American penal system (which the film highlights). For example; whether the prisoner is of sound mind enough to be executed. Also, that in this situation, all of the assessors found Aileen mentally competent and of sound mind. At the same time the audience watch and listen while she talks about mind control and pressure in her head (while guards seen in the background try not to giggle). For anyone watching the documentary, you feel that her mental state has been on a clear and steady decline over the period we have been following her - yet she is seen as perfectly sane. I agree with Nick on this one, it does make you wonder what someone has to do to fail one of the mental health tests. All things considered I think this is a good, thought provoking documentary. The source is a great and worthy subject but I feel it could have been delivered in a clearer, deeper presentation.
    James C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 2012
    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.
    familiar s Super Reviewer

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