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Monster's Ball (2001)

R | | Drama, Romance | 1 March 2002 (USA)
Trailer
1:32 | Trailer
After a family tragedy, a racist prison guard re-examines his attitudes while falling in love with the African-American wife of the last prisoner he executed.

Director:

Marc Forster
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Popularity
3,374 ( 140)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Bob Thornton ... Hank Grotowski
Taylor Simpson Taylor Simpson ... Lucille
Gabrielle Witcher Gabrielle Witcher ... Betty
Heath Ledger ... Sonny Grotowski
Amber Rules Amber Rules ... Vera
Peter Boyle ... Buck Grotowski
Charles Cowan Jr. Charles Cowan Jr. ... Willie Cooper
Taylor LaGrange Taylor LaGrange ... Darryl Cooper
Yasiin Bey ... Ryrus Cooper (as Mos Def)
Anthony Bean Anthony Bean ... Dappa Smith
Francine Segal ... Georgia Ann Paynes
John McConnell ... Harvey Shoonmaker
Marcus Lyle Brown ... Phil Huggins
Milo Addica ... Tommy Roulaine
Leah Loftin ... Booter
Learn more

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Storyline

Set in the Southern United States, 'Monster's Ball' is a tale of a racist white man, Hank, who falls in love with a black woman named Leticia. Ironically Hank is a prison guard working on Death Row who executed Leticia's husband. Hank and Leticia's interracial affair leads to confusion and new ideas for the two unlikely lovers. Written by Anna <annachan@amazon.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A lifetime of change can happen in a single moment.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, language and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As part of his research for the film, director Marc Forster actually sat in an electric chair and was horrified to see the nail marks that the electrocuted prisoners had involuntarily scratched into the wood. See more »

Goofs

In the hospital Laetitia has two huge blood stains on the left side of her shirt. When she arrives with Hank at her home, the shirt is clean. See more »

Quotes

Buck Grotowski: You ain't no man till you split dark oak.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to Sam, Austin, Gabrielle. Scott Lambert is thanked twice. See more »

Alternate Versions

The initial cut of the picture included more explicit footage during the sex scene between Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton, which was trimmed down after the MPAA threatened to give the film a NC-17 rating. The uncut version premiered at the Berlin Film Festival on February 8, 2001. The R-rated US theatrical release is the cut version; the version released theatrically in Canada and most other countries is the uncut version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #19.4 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden
(1968)
Performed by Lynn Anderson
Written by Joe South
Published by Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI)
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

User Reviews

Disturbing, engaging work
16 April 2003 | by UqbarSee all my reviews

This is the kind of gritty, fuzz-free reality drama that keeps you musing about it long past the ending credits. It is unsparing in its depiction of all the light and dark sides of the human psyche, from racism to passion to insularity and even corpulence, mounting these on a platform so stark and unambiguous that the audience is not left with many choices - the reactions evoked are exactly the ones intended to be evoked, oscillating between disgust, outrage, sympathy, tenderness and occasionally, even a surreptitious smile.

Most of the characters in the movie suffer somewhat from a lack of complexity, which is compensated for by casting them into circumstantial conflict to create the dramatic tension (a husband is electrocuted, a child dies, another child sends a bullet through his heart and into the couch behind, and so on). This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially because the remarkable performances (particularly from Halle Berry) validate this ploy. The exception to this, however, is the character of Hank Grotowski, played by Billy Bob Thornton. Billy Bob succeeds in imparting a subtle gray shade to this seemingly cardboard-cutout poster-boy-for-the-old-bigoted-south character that makes you hesitate from accepting him at face value. Is this simply about a saturnine, jaded racist being transformed by true love? Well, yes, that's part of it - the obvious part. But something keeps nagging you, preventing you from accepting this linear, justifiable inference, making you want to probe deeper, discover the reasons he has turned out this way, and even, in a perverse way, rationalize them. Is it just the provincial social climate? Is it the long proximity to his bigoted dotard of a father (played admirably by Peter Boyle)? Is he really that way or is he simply going with the flow? No simple explanation seems satisfactory - and the credit for this questioning, this need for deconstruction, goes to Billy Bob's nuanced performance.

All in all, beside the fact that some of the scenes may unsettle the squeamish, and that some promising characters like that of Grotowski's dispirited, conflicted son Sonny (played by Heath Ledger) were knocked off too early, the picture satisfies most norms for a good cinema experience - it makes you think, weep, squirm, analyze, rationalize, everything but walk out before it is over. In other words, it is what good cinema is about.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 March 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Monster's Ball See more »

Filming Locations:

Laplace, Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$110,552, 30 December 2001

Gross USA:

$31,273,922

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$45,011,434
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (unrated director's cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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