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Monster's Ball

3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (272 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 6.83
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Product Details

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Monster of a Performance by Berry July 17 2004
By A Customer
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Thornton, not Berry, steals the show! July 17 2004
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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2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Quit Your Day Job, "Sean Combs" June 28 2004
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Halle Barry deserved the acadamy award! May 27 2004
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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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie with Heath.
Good movie, I liked that Heath was in it, even for as long as he portrayed his Sonny character, good plot and acting.
Published 19 months ago by Dana Dumitriu
1.0 out of 5 stars absurdly implausible
This might have been good if they had tried to make a serious, realistic film instead of a silly fairy tale. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2008 by serious watcher
5.0 out of 5 stars A Movie for those who can appreciate well written scripts and amazing...
This movie is by far one of the best in the last few years. One of the best things about this is its simiplicity; the human need for intimacy and love. Read more
Published on April 14 2008 by Melisa
5.0 out of 5 stars HALLE BERRY IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Halle berry gives an amazing performance and deserved her oscar in this drama.Forget what bad things people say about this movie because they don't know good drama's halle has... Read more
Published on July 12 2004 by Donald Antoine
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Worth It
There were moments where this film interested me, but otherwise I found myself wondering why Halle got an Oscar for this role, or more importantaly-- why this film was so... Read more
Published on July 10 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Halle Berry 's ocsar winning performance PLEASE!!!!
This was a horrible movie. The plot was simplitic at best.It was going all over the place. None of it made sense. Halle Berry is a one note actress at best. Read more
Published on July 10 2004 by D. Harris
1.0 out of 5 stars HORRIBLE stuff!
Honestly, there aren't enough to words to describe how bad Monster's Ball is, and how undeserving of an Oscar that hack Halle Berry was. Read more
Published on June 5 2004 by "rattlerbrat82"
4.0 out of 5 stars Tragic but well acted.
This film is dramatic, tragic, and all out depressing. But the acting is what steals the show. Halle Barry deserved the Oscar, and the film will be remembered. Not the best. Read more
Published on May 29 2004 by Ryne Williams
1.0 out of 5 stars I liked this better when it was called Jason's Lyric........
How did Halle play the race card? Let's compare 2001's Monster's Ball to 1994's Jason's Lyric (unrated version). Read more
Published on May 18 2004 by SHAWN JAMES
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