Monster's Ball
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Director Marc Forster, winner of Best Feature at Slamdance for his debut film Loungers (1996) and the "Someone to Watch" Independent Spirit Award for his indie drama Everything Put Together (2000), follows up those acclaimed projects with this intense, racially charged romance. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Georgia prison guard Hank Grotowski, a hard-drinking racist ex-cop whose father, Buck (Peter Boyle), is dying of emphysema and whose son, Sonny (Heath Ledger), works the execution detail at the prison's death row. When Sonny commits suicide, Hank is devastated and quits his job,… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's not a polemic on the death penalty, race relations or family dynamics. It's a character study that really sticks with you."
‑ Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"[Forster] tells his story with directness and simplicity and without the high hallmarks of the soaps' gooey emotional lubrication."
‑ Stephen Hunter, Washington Post
"This brutal movie is for adults only."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"Forster's poised direction, as well as powerful turns from Billy Bob Thornton and the Oscar-winning Halle Berry, make this compelling viewing."
‑ Caroline Westbrook, Empire Magazine
"Recalls Tender Mercies, another astutely acted character study that remained resolutely small-scale and was all the more affecting because it didn't overreach."
‑ Stephen Farber, Movieline
"A serious movie made by seriously talented people, and I never quite came 'round to it."
‑ Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune
"A powerful and poignant motion picture not about racism and redemption, as one might initially suppose, but about one of the most urgent and universal of human needs -- that of finding solace for pain and loneliness."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"Though marred by script that telegraphs its messages, this drama still manages to tell a compelling love story betweenn a redneck guard and a black widow, well played by Billy Bob Thronton and particularly Halle Berre, who should get Oscar nomination"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Thornton and Berry show us what acting is in this movie."
‑ John R. McEwen, Film Quips Online
"Much of the film works, performances all around are better than the script, and the whole (especially the first part) is well directed by Marc Forster."
‑ Jean Lowerison, San Diego Metropolitan
"A textbook example of fearless filmmaking, exhibiting a brand of gritty realism that's hard to watch but impossible to ignore."
‑ Bill Muller, Arizona Republic
"Though the film can initially seem off-putting, Monster's Ball slowly and quietly gets under your skin."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"Forster makes us too intimate with these characters. But, heavy-handed and derivative as it is, its lead actors strike some resonant chords...."
‑ Jeffrey Overstreet, Looking Closer
"Halle Berry turns in an amazing performance."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"A fine film that packs enormous ambition into a modest, carefully executed package."
‑ Margaret A. McGurk, Cincinnati Enquirer
More reviews for Monster's Ball on Rotten Tomatoes

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