Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA/Germany, 2003. Media 8 Entertainment, Newmarket Films, DEJ Productions, K/W Productions, Denver and Delilah Productions, VIP 2 Medienfonds, MDP Worldwide. Screenplay by Patty Jenkins. Cinematography by Steven Bernstein. Produced by Mark Damon, Donald Kushner, Clark Peterson, Charlize Theron, Brad Wyman. Music by BT. Production Design by Edward T. McAvoy. Costume Design by Rhona Meyers. Film Editing by Arthur Coburn, Jane Kurson. Academy Awards 2003. Berlin Film Festival 2004. Golden Globe Awards 2003. Screen Actors Guild Awards 2003.
Brutal, powerfully affecting account of the crime spree committed by Florida prostitute Aileen Wuornos is brought to life thanks to the unforgettable, tear-down-the-walls performance by an unrecognizable Charlize Theron. Disappearing into the role under weight gain, dentures, bleached eyebrows, fake freckles and contacts, Theron does the unexpected and makes herself turn into the character without ever relying on the physical changes she has undergone: the frightening look in her eyes and her stance are enough to convince you that she really is this person. Wuornos’ story begins after a lifetime of abuse and degradation, a point where she is ready to commit suicide but for the appearance of a woman (Christina Ricci) who truly loves her. The two fall in love, but things go awry when Wuornos starts killing the men who pay her for sex, at first in self-defense and then afterwards in cold blood. The film does a terrific job of showing us the pitiable aspects of its subject without soft-selling her more dirty deeds: this is not a plea for sympathy for someone who knew full well what she was doing, but more an examination of where a culture of class division, misogyny and abuse can lead. Ricci doesn’t fare as well as Theron, giving a performance not nearly weighty enough for a role which, to be fair, isn’t written with the same amount of complexity or depth as the lead’s is.