Monster’s Ball (2001)

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A series of rather contrived tragic events bring together an ex-corrections officer and the widow of a man he had a hand in executing.

Monster’s Ball is a thoughtful and well-written drama of finding redemption in breaking with the destructive influences of the past. Billy Bob Thornton gives a typically sturdy performance complimented by Oscar winner Halle Berry, but it is Peter Boyle’s decrepit yet still belligerently obnoxious patriarch that is the scene stealer. Actually, my main gripe lies in the casting of Berry, because as good as she is and as crucial to the story the infamous sex scene is, having such a strikingly attractive woman involved can only lead to titillation; as a result the scene feels rather like high-end porn. The script also reminded me of Crash in that although well written and thoughtful, it all seemed a little too convenient and all the events leading up to the couple’s relationship just felt like the means to an end rather than a believable story.

Having said that, it’s a sensitively told tale that is nowhere near as depressing as it sounds.

6/10

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