Monster’s Ball (2001) [Review]

111 min December 26, 2001 | |

Plot: A young man (Combs) sits on death row, awaiting execution. Around him are Hank (Thornton) and Sonny (Ledger), father and son guards and Leticia (Berry) his wife, and her son. After the young man is executed, everyone must get on with their lives, no matter how hard that may be.


Well, Monster’s Ball has won a few Academy Awards®, and gotten rave reviews. A friend of mine bought it, and let me borrow it. I hadn’t been that interested in watching it, but since it was free, I decided I might as well.

The characters of Monster’s Ball are incredibly stereotyped: Hank, the son of a racist who sees the error of his ways; Leticia, a poor black woman whose husband sits on death row; Sonny, the son whose father hates him, but he loves his father just the same; even Hank’s father, an old racist at heart, who considers everyone else to be weak, as he sits attached to an oxygen tank living out the last days of his life.

The characters all fit into neat little packages, and didn’t do anything against that. There was no great surprise in their actions whatsoever, and they all tended toward a monotone.

Monster’s Ball was incredibly predictable. You could see everything coming miles away, and got bored by the time the movie caught up. I don’t know what the Academy saw here, but I didn’t see it, at all. This almost seemed like a porn video, with a slap together plot. There was enough sex to keep the twenty-something viewers interested, and hopefully to keep them awake through the movie as well. It moved at an incredibly slow place, and failed to keep my attention.

All in all, if this hadn’t been a freebie, I never would have watched Monster’s Ball, and I wouldn’t be any the worse for wear because of it. Some movies are powerful, some are moving.

This movie doesn’t do either, except maybe move you to the bathroom watching Billy Bob and Halle get together. That was downright disgusting…he’s gotta be one of the ugliest actors in show biz today.

One interesting side note: Amazing how Swordfish (2001) had to pay extra to get Halle Berry to bare her breasts, but tell her it’s a drama, and she’s naked for half of the movie!

They say the title is the name of the little party they have the night before the execution. This film must be the decaying corpse the day after.

    Monster’s Ball (2001) has a running time of 1 hr 51 mins and is rated for strong sexual content, language and violence. Want to learn more? Visit the IMDB Page .

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DVD Features

  • Widescreen
  • Scene Access
  • 2 Feature-Length Audio Commentaries:
    • by Mark Forster & Robert Shaefer
    • by Halle Berry & Billy Bob Thornton
  • "Behind the Scenes" Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes/Outtakes
  • IFC's "Anatomy of a Scene"
  • Theatrical Trailer


An ex-Floridian, ex-Baltimorian now living in Arizona, Reid wants to get into a career that involves web-design, but for now enjoys working on critiQal in his spare time.

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