Friday, January 02, 2009
Cherlize Theron won an Oscar for her performance in Monster--it's not merely her spot-on mimicry of Aileen that makes this a worthy performance. There isn't a frame in the film where Theron as Aileen is not deeply conflicted and suffering, and not once is there a false moment or exaggerated emotion (the same is not true for Christina Ricci's performance as Selby--she's good but not quite at the same level).
I think the clincher scene is when Aileen faces hard truths during a job interview in a lawyer's office. Theron's face falls and she really took my heart with her. Director Patty Jenkins might say that her intention was never to make us feel sympathy for Aileen Wournos--but wow, that's certainly one effect. Good stuff.