Monster's Ball (DVD, 2002)
Most relevant reviews
- mommy_son17Oct 07, 2012by
MONSTER'S BALL: Gritty and Compassionate.
This movie is about Leticia (Halle Berry), a woman with a son, whose husband Lawrence (Sean Combs) has been sitting on death row for 11 years and he's about to be executed. Hank and his son Sonny, are corrections officers at the jail and the ones prepping Lawrence's execution. Hank's father Buck is a racist, his wife killed herself and Buck is filled with hate because he thinks she gave up on him (imagine that) and he considers her weak. He also thinks Sonny (his grandson) is weak because he has her ways. Buck's hate has rubbed off on Hank, who hates his son Sonny because he reminds him of his mother / grandmother. Because Sonny didn't have the hateful tendencies Buck and Hank have, he is considered a weakling. And this made Sonny a very unhappy person. When Sonny threw up while escorting Lawrence to the electric chair, and had to go to the bathroom to compose himself, Hank storms in, beats him up and screams obscenities at him. Guess he didn't want a dying man to see another human being having compassion for him, etc. The next morning, Hank busted in Sonny's room and told him he wanted him out of his house. Sonny pulls his gun and roughs Hank up. Hank tells Sonny he hates him. Well, I've always loved you Sonny says, and does the unthinkable!
This movie is solely about COMPASSION, but it's about hate, too. Hate, which can be passed from one person to another, in the case of Buck, Hank and Sonny; from father to son. Some of us don't have any compassion for other people, until we are faced with the same pain and conflicts. Then, we see how idiotic our hateful notions are and how they stop us from being better people. Compassion is something Hank learned when he met Leticia. She reminded him of himself. He saw her pain and he had to think about his own, his actions, and his hate. He is forced to confront his inner demons and in doing so, he renews his mind, body and spirit. The movie was gritty and tells about the hoarse realities that exists. I liked this movie because of the compassion factor. It wasn't bad at all, very emotional. But not the type of role for Berry that deserved an Oscar. But hey, that's life.Read full review
- msturakAug 07, 2010by
Tragedy is not the end of hope
This movie was not a big favorite with audiences so I knew there had to be something meaningful in it that the shallow public could not see or was not able to see or perhaps refused to see.
It has one of the loveliest soundtracks I've ever heard which clings to the soul with a lingering and misty melancholy.
A movie for for those who have known suffering.
The Monster's Ball is a very bleak film yet it's also quite rare in that it's truly unpredictable.
You won't find Hollywood trappings here. This is an Indy film, thoughtful with symbolism and a profound message. This movie caused a knee jerk reaction in parts of the black community, causing calls for boycotting and some racial tension.
Simply put, a white racist death row prison guard, through a set of tragic and complex circumstances, begins to fall in love with the black wife of an inmate that he recently executed, of which she is totally unaware. Their anguished bond is the fact that they both have lost young sons.
There is some blunt sexual content, however it's mainly queasy and uncomfortably painful rather than erotic. Still, this motion picture is not intended for children.
This movie somehow captures the mood of yearning reconcillation between two devastated souls
who discover they have absolutely nowhere else left to turn, except to each other.
This is a startling "feel bad" movie that is able to say: tragedy will not be permitted to become the end of all hope. Rather it states: When you're at the end of your rope, letting go can be the best thing you can do.
Ultimately consoling in a way that seeks to unlock a warm, rainy night in your heart where abandoned innocence is finally given a chance to be regained.
Atmospheric and moody with a poetic and mystical resolution that leaves you with a mesmerizing shimmer of hope.
In the final scene, Halle Berry unlocked something deep within herself. Her eyes spoke of a suffocated bleeding which magically suspended both time and space.
"The title comes from a custom in medieval England where prisoners awaiting execution were called monsters. The night before their execution, their jailers would hold a feast known as a monster's ball as their final farewell." (Wikipedia)Read full review
- anoint41Feb 10, 2011by
Awesome, self-confrontration on issues
I have always loved this movie. I had it, but wanted to give a copy to a friend. This is the most self-confrontational movie that I have seen in a long time. It causes you to look at issues, comonalities that we find with prejudice in others, but want to over look in ourselves. It also, to me demonstrated that "pain" can be an emotion and tie that can cross boundries of race, religion, sex and whatever. No matter how much we have seperate, there is always something that we have in common that knows no barriers. I have taught classes and workshops around this movie and all have had tremendous success.
- bonjergerJan 02, 2010by
Monster's Ball (DVD)
I had intended to see this movie for a long time and finally bought it on a whim. If a movie is controversial for any reason I prefer seeing it myself and making my own assessment of whatever the controversial content is rather than parroting the opinion of someone else.
"Monster's Ball" got a lot of publicity because of Halle Berry's nude scene. The nudity is much more discreet than the publicity made it seem, and some of her vocabulary was more of a shock than the choreography of the nude scene, but her portrayal of the character throughout the movie is remarkable. It obviously wasn't the nude scene that earned her the Academy Award.
Looking beyond the highly publicized nudity, the film needed more backstory to show why the three generations were so dysfunctional. The hostility leading up to the suicide needed much more backstory to make it seem like more than a plot device.
Without spoiling the ending for anyone who hasn't seen it I'll also say that what is said and what is not said in the final scene makes it very easy to anticipate a sequel (if Berry had been interested in doing one).
Despite the weak spots in the story line, I'm glad I saw it and I recommend it to anyone who can handle a small amount of discreet female nudity and a significant amount of "four-letter" words and harsh racist dialogue.Read full review
- c.bogaertJan 12, 2009by
Set in modern Mississippi, MONSTER'S BALL subtly examines the impact of personal loss and the transforming power of human connection. The movie begins in the state penitentiary's death row, where father-and-son prison guards Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) and Sonny Grotowski (Heath Ledger) administer the execution of a black death-row inmate Lawrence Musgrove (Sean Combs), who leaves behind a wife, Leticia (Halle Berry), and son, Tyrell (Coronji Calhoun). When both Hank and Leticia's children subsequently die, the two grieving parents are accidentally thrust together, where they begin to find comfort and eventually a form of redemption. Employing a languid pace and minimalist dialogue, MONSTER'S BALL slowly moves forward on the strength of the cast's performances (including a supporting turn from Peter Boyle as Hank's ailing racist father, Buck) and Marc Forster's understated direction. The complex characters are allowed to develop gradually over the course of the entire movie, making the film a richly satisfying character study rather than a quick, plot-driven confection.Read full review