‘Monster’ kicks off CFS spring ’09 line-up

Conor Chemidlin

As the shocking story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos unfolded across the national media in the early ’90’s, writer/filmmaker Patty Jenkins followed intently.

Rather than being horrified and appalled by Wuornos’ grisly crimes, Jenkins instead found herself personally moved by the story of the woman’s life.

She sought to understand where this individual had come from, what experiences had shaped Wuornos and driven her to the horrible acts she committed.

Jenkins was so moved by this story that she used it as the basis for her directorial debut in the 2003 film “Monster.”

Jenkins’ film offers viewers a window into the life and mindset of the kind of individual that the rest of society has deemed a “monster.”

Ironically, Jenkins attempts to reveal the misuse of the term and prove that even a serial killer such as Wuornos is a human being in search of friendship and love. Although she hopes the audience will understand her character, it is clear that the director does not want sympathy.

Jenkins is very clear and blunt about the terrible acts of violence that Wuornos committed without telling the story of a glorified serial killer.

Charlize Theron turns in an Academy Award-winning performance and succeeds brilliantly in drawing the audience into Wuornos’ world.

Theron does not merely play a part but seems to become the character completely.

Theron spent countless hours reading Wuornos’ letters and speaking with her friends in order to enter the killer’s psyche.

She even frequented Wuornos’ actual residence in order to fully embrace her role.

She does an excellent job of capturing the subtleties of the character which range from her twitchy facial expressions to her lumbering gait.

Theron’s performance is coupled with a tremendous makeup job and a 30-pound weight gain that convinces the audience they are looking at the real Wuornos.

“Monster” is the premier film in the spring lineup of the Villanova Cultural Film and Lecture series.

It will be screened four times in the Connelly Center Cinema: Saturday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 25 at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.

The Monday evening showing will be the only one to feature guest speakers Dan Jefferson and Susan Marcosson who will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterward.

Admission is free for University students with I.D. and is $5 for all others.

The theme of the spring series is “Women Take the Camera,” and it will feature the work of female filmmakers.