Monster (2003) Genre: Crime, Drama Rating: R for violence, language, and sexual content Writer: Patty Jenkins Director: Patty Jenkins Box office: $34,187,787 (x)
Differences and Creative Liberties
While the character of Selby (played by Christina Ricci) – Wuornos’ love interest – is based on Wuornos’ real-life girlfriend Tyria Moore, Selby’s name and appearance were changed to accommodate Moore’s desire for privacy (x). While Ricci did gain weight for the role (x), she is younger, more feminine, and more conventionally attractive than Moore was at the time of the events.
Selby wore a cast through much of the film not because it had any relation to Moore, but because Ricci had actually injured her arm before filming (x).
Selby’s cast is the focal point of a fictionalized scene in which Wuornos comes home to find Selby frantically ripping it apart. This action is the catalyst for Wuornos’ murder confession to Selby.
The character of Tom was a fictionalized composite of the other regular patrons at Wuornos’ favorite bar, not based on any specific individual (x).
The scene when Wuornos tells Selby that she has killed a man is much more dramatic than described in Tyria’s testimony. Tyria claims that Wuornos revealed her crime without emotion (x), which contradicts the film portrayal (seen below).
A number of creative liberties were taken for character development and to move the plot along. The following are a few scenes that are plausible but unsupported by any factual evidence:
Scenes of a younger Wuornos, as a child and a young woman, were added. In two of the scenes she is seen exposing herself in some way to men who are understood to be taking advantage of her naivety.
Selby and Wuornos share a roller-skating sequence in which their characters are seen developing a fondness for and attraction to one another. A similar scene takes place on a Ferris wheel at a local fair.
A love scene between Selby and Wuornos is briefly depicted.
An unprepared and desperate Wuornos is seen interviewing for a job at a law firm, and having a vitriolic outburst when rejected by the interviewer.
Wuornos intends, at one point, to kill a man who has hired her for her services as a prostitute, but when the stuttering client confesses to her that he has “never done this before,” she elects to let him live.
Wuornos is, in one scene, sexually coerced by a police officer who had previously detained her.
Most importantly, the filmmakers chose to portray the violent rape scene that Wuornos described in court despite the fact that it could not be corroborated by physical evidence or Tyria’s testimony, and Wuornos’ testimony was inconsistent (x).
Fragments of Wuornos’ actual letters were spoken by Charlize Theron as narration (x).
Theron gained weight for the role, and makeup artists made her look almost identical to Wuornos.
Wuornos was described to police as being disruptive and confrontational in public over minor things (x), and this is depicted in the film.
When Wuornos is first seen trying to lure in a client, she shows pictures of her supposed children, which are later revealed to not be hers. This was an actual method that Wuornos used to elicit sympathy (x).
The car crash that led to police sketches of Moore and Wuornos – a pivotal point in the investigation – was depicted accurately (x).
The recorded phone call between Moore and Wuornos that led to Wuornos’ sentencing was accurately dramatized by Ricci and Theron, borrowing dialogue from the actual conversation.
The dialogue from Wuornos’ outburst in court upon hearing her death sentence was used almost verbatim.