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Monster's Ball

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Product Details

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (273 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005YU1M
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,074 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

After a family tragedy, a racist prison guard reexamines his attitudes while falling in love with the African American wife of the last prisoner he executed.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17 2004
Format: DVD
Halle Berry stars as Leticia Musgrove, a young African-American mother whose husband is on death row for an undisclosed crime. Her husband (Sean Combs) is executed by a white father named Hank and his son (Billy Bob Thornton and Heath Ledger, respectively). After the abusive mother's only son is killed in a freak accident, Hank (whose estranged son commits suicide) becomes entangled in Leticia's life, marked by crippling grief and great misfortune. They begin an affair, Leticia all the while not knowing that her new love was the one who killed the father of her dead son. Will she overcome this, or will she succumb to the familiar isolation she has faced nearly all of her life?
The performances are all marvelous. Thornton and Ledger maintain a quiet anger and sadness, Combs and Peter Boyle (as Hank's racist father) are both great in brief supporting roles, but nothing compares to Berry. Usually typecast as the beautiful girlfriend or token black character, she brings exquisite calibration to her work, a raw fear combined with pride and numbing insecurities. She also has some stunning hysterical moments in the film, when she realizes who Thornton's character is and when she finds out her son is dead at the hospital. The latter moment emblazons itself on your memory, as she bangs on the glass screaming with gutteral howls "My baby! Please don't take my baby!" before collapsing into a heap. Berry, despite some recent poor script and genre choices, proved herself in this film, winning a well-deserved Oscar as Best Actress in a Leading Role against such contenders as former winners Sissy Spacek and Judi Dench. Berry's performance ranks among the best in recent memory.
Excellent acting and good writing make this film easily one of the finest of the last few years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TidesManian Devil on July 17 2004
Format: DVD
First things first, sorry, Berry's was NOT the best performance in this film. Far from it. Thornton steals the show as the multi-faceted racist corrections officer. In fact, I was thinking as I watched the movie that I certainly hoped it wasn't this performance that earned Berry an Oscar. Then I saw on the box that is was. Mercy, what was the Academy thinking on that choice? I thought her performance was unnatural and contrived, and not aided by the fact that her stunning beauty belied her otherwise down and out status (I'm only willing to suspend disbelief to a certain point).
As for the film itself, it grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let go. The mood it establishes, supported by an excellent musical score, almost hypnotizes you. I was disappointed by the ending, however. It seemed abrupt and gave me a feeling of incompleteness concerning the film. The fact that there wasn't much dialogue to uncover the characters along the way only added to this feeling (I felt like I was only starting to get to know these people and then . . . the credits roll). But, again, it was the mood, not the dialogue, that makes this movie work.
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By A Customer on June 28 2004
Format: DVD
This is a frustrating movie in many ways. It is indeed difficult to watch, as other reviewers have pointed out (though it is supposed to be). But it is also a missed opportunity. With so many contemporary movies filled with formulaic plots and inane dialogue, with happy endings and feel-good messages either overt or lurking beneath superficial complications, this is a movie that appears to have promise. I'd even say that it's a movie that I wanted to succeed.
But alas, it doesn't. Monster's Ball is about two flawed characters who need each other due to tragedies they both suffer in the first half of the film. There is no romance at the birth of their relationship, only symbiosis. OK so far. But for the premise to effect any emotion in the viewer, the movie must be plausible. I realize the plot is not the most important thing in this movie, but its reliance on coincidence is heavier than Halle Berry's kid. (**Warning, spoiler to follow.**) And I spent too much time sighing or laughing out loud over ridiculous scences such as the one involving the death of Berry's son in the hospital to feel anything for these characters. The lack of believability dilutes the power that the perfomances of the leads could have provided. And that's ashame, because the acting is really good for the most part (except for P. Diddy's blah performance -- I'm not sure why movie critics out there have praised the job he did in this).
One other complaint: is it just me or does Halle Berry look conspicuously white on the cover of this movie? (She sure doesn't look like that on screen.) You know, here's a movie about a rather unpleasant fellow (racism being one of his flaws) whose improvement as a human being is tied to his relationship with a black woman. Yet with prospective viwers likely knowing they'll get to see Berry naked, the distributor picked a picture of her that makes her look as if she's, well, not that black. Cynical? Or am I reading into that too much?
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Format: DVD
WOW! Where does one begin writing about such a powerful movie?
Billy Bob Thornton plays the unfeeling, unemotional, robot of a man...(He plays him superbly) He comes from a generation of robotic sleeze balls.
How apt that he is one of the gaurds at the prison who executes Halle Barry's husband (Puffy.)
Halle plays her role (No makeup, still stunning) as a sort of welfare, desparate, pathetic soul...probably also from a generation of dysfunction.
Billy and Halle meet somehow---both filling a hole in one another. Somehow it works. Somehow they become better people because of it.
There is a scene where Billy Bob Thorton is painting the inside of his house white...(symbolic for a new beginning)
There are scenes where the viewer will see hands reaching into a cage recovering a bird... (Another metaphor for freedom, change, letting go)
This is one of the best movies I have ever watched...
Halle is superb, deserving of the acadamy award.
Thornton is brilliant as her sleeze ball boyfriend turned human.
Looooooooove it!!!!
PS... beware, the scenes of Barry beating her son is very raw and disturbing, but the directer makes the viewer see that she too, has been in this abusive cycle for many years.
This is not a movie you will soon forget...the images will stay with you and make every emotion surface.
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