[Screen It]

 

"MONSTER'S BALL"
(2001) (Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Moderate Extreme Moderate Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Moderate Extreme Heavy Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Unaware of their connection, a former prison guard becomes involved with the widow of the death row prisoner he executed.
PLOT:
Hank Grotowski (BILLY BOB THORNTON) is a prison guard at the Georgia Department of Corrections who presides over death row inmates with his adult son, Sonny (HEATH LEDGER). While thoroughly professional, Hank seems to have inherited the racism that still runs through the veins of his homebound and bitter father, Buck (PETER BOYLE), a factor that seemingly has yet to affect Sonny despite his living with those two men.

One of the prisoners under their watch is Lawrence Musgrove (SEAN COMBS) who's scheduled to die shortly, a point that's left his distraught wife, Leticia (HALLE BERRY), not sure how she's going to pay their rent or care for their obese son Tyrell (CORONJI CALHOUN).

After Lawrence's execution that Hank and his team carried out, Leticia looks for work and finds employment at the local café that Hank regularly frequents. The two don't know each other, but when additional tragedy strikes both of them, they find themselves drawn to each other.

As their friendship quickly turns to lust and then love, the two must deal with their differences as well as the eventual revelation of the unique bond from their past.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Fans of someone in the cast might want to, but it doesn't otherwise seem likely that any but the oldest of teens will be interested in this one.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong sexual content, language and violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BILLY BOB THORNTON plays a corrections officer on death row who doesn't get along with his son or father (both of whom live with him) and eventually quits his job after a death in the family. He then becomes involved with Leticia, initially unaware of their fateful connection, has sex with her and changes his racist ways. He uses strong profanity.
  • PETER BOYLE plays his ailing, but racist father who's a bitter old man.
  • HEATH LEDGER plays Hank's son who's also a prison guard. He smokes, has sex with a hooker, and uses strong profanity, but doesn't share his father or grandfather's racist views.
  • SEAN COMBS plays a man on death row who's about to be executed.
  • HALLE BERRY plays his wife and then widow who smokes, drinks and ends up falling for Hank (with whom she has sex).
  • CORONJI CALHOUN plays her obese son who can't control his cravings for sweets.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at this film's content. Profanity consists of at least 9 uses of the "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually related dialogue is present, while various encounters (some interracial, others with a hooker) are seen. They include movement, nudity and related sounds, with one scene going on for what seems like several minutes and being rather graphic, and another involving off-screen oral sex (we see the woman's reaction).

    Violence consists of a person committing suicide (by shooting themselves in the chest), a death row inmate being executed, a boy dying from injuries resulting from being hit by a car, and some characters hitting/striking others. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (including racism), while various instance of tense family material are present.

    Meanwhile, various characters drink/and or smoke, and some are seen/heard vomiting. If you're still concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing this picture, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, some strobe-like effects briefly occur.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Sonny and a hooker drink liquor.
  • People drink in a bar, including Sonny.
  • Leticia drinks liquor from a small bottle.
  • Leticia and Hank drink little bottles of liquor (which is apparently whiskey). Later, we see various empty bottles in front of them.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We hear Hank vomiting.
  • Sonny vomits right before the execution and we see a little of it.
  • Sonny has a little bit of a bloody lip after being punched.
  • We see some blood on a person's shirt after they've committed suicide by shooting themselves in the chest, and we later see the blood being cleaned from the chair where the act took place.
  • A woman has another person's blood on her top and we then see some blood in the back seat of a car (from that same injured person).
  • We hear Hank vomiting in the bathroom.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Buck has racist attitudes toward black people (calling them "niggers" and "porch monkeys"). He later says to Leticia, "Hank just like his daddy. Ain't a man till he split dark cocoa."
  • Hank isn't nice to some black kids who are neighbors and friends of Sonny's and fires some warning shots into the air to make them leave.
  • Leticia is mean to Tyrell regarding him being overweight and what he eats (calling him names and even smacking him for both).
  • Hank and Sonny have bad attitudes toward each other.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • The preparations for the execution, as well as the actual event, might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Sonny holds a gun on Hank and then pushes him downstairs. He keeps pushing him until he pushes him to the floor. He then kicks him in the back on the floor.
  • A person commits suicide by shooting himself in the chest.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns: Used to fire off warnings and to commit suicide.
  • Rifles/Shotguns: Carried by various guards.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*cked up," "You're a f*cking p*ssy," "Piece of (f*cking) sh*t," "Get your f*cking hands off me," "You lousy piece of sh*t," "I'm not worth sh*t," "Niggers" and "Porch monkeys" (said by Buck who's white), "I don't give a damn," "You watch your ass," "Screwed up," "What the hell is this?" "Fat ass" and "Damn straight."
  • A person commits suicide by shooting himself in the chest.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 9 "f" words, 15 "s" words, 3 slang terms using female genitals ("p*ssy"), 7 damns, 6 hells, 4 asses and 7 uses of "G-damn" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A hooker arrives in Sonny's room and removes her top (we see the side of her bare breasts). She then removes her panties, revealing her bare butt as he she bends over. He then lowers his underwear (we see part of his bare butt) and then has sex with her from behind (after she states that she's a little sore and for him to take it easy). We see movement, her bare breasts and hear some sounds as he then climaxes rather quickly and they're done. She then gets dressed and leaves.
  • Leticia shows some cleavage.
  • We see part of the side of Leticia's bare butt, in some partial shadows, as she sleeps.
  • The hooker from above, who's topless, makes some comment about "late night p*ssy" and then drops her bottom and we see her bare butt. Hank then pulls down his pants and moves up behind her, but when she asks how Sonny is, he says he can't do this (as we see her bare butt and breasts).
  • Buck states that he got more "p*ssy" after his wife killed herself than when he was married to her.
  • Leticia wears a very tight and formfitting top that accentuates her bosom.
  • Leticia makes some comments about wanting Hank to make her feel better and feel good, and then removes her tank top, revealing her bare breasts. She then partially straddles him while making more comments about making him feel good. We see more views of her bare breasts and he then pulls off her bottom. He's behind her when she takes off her thong underwear and we then see him having sex from behind her (with movement, nudity and sounds). We then see him between her legs as she sits on the edge of the sofa and they continue having sex (with more movement, sounds and nudity). This goes on for quite a while as we see more shots of them having sex with him on top of her on the sofa (with more heavy breathing, sounds, movements and nudity including sight of his bare butt and her bare breasts). We then see her on top of him on the floor, with more of the same and his hands on her bare butt (all of which amounts to a very steamy scene).
  • The next morning, we see Hank in his underwear (from behind him).
  • We see Hank and Leticia in bed sleeping, implying more possible sex.
  • Realizing that Hank and Leticia must have had sex, Buck tells her, "Hank just like his daddy. Ain't a man till he split dark cocoa."
  • Hank and Leticia passionately make out in bed. He then moves down her body (and out of the camera's view) and we see a great deal of cleavage as well as her pleasured reaction (and heavy breathing) to him apparently performing oral sex on her (until she eventually climaxes).
  • SMOKING
  • Leticia smokes at least 5 times, while Lawrence and Sonny smoke several times, Buck smokes once, and some miscellaneous people also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Hank doesn't get along with his son or father very well, and has some tense family scenes with them. In one, Sonny asks Hank if he hates him and his father say yes (resulting in a tragic consequence). In another, he puts his father in a nursing home after not being able to put up with his attitude.
  • Leticia and Tyrell must deal with Lawrence being executed, and seeing him for the last time in prison. In addition, she's mean to Tyrell about him being overweight.
  • Several parents must deal with the deaths of their children (one commits suicide, the other dies after being hit by a car and the mother sees the sheet being pulled over him in the hospital).
  • We hear that Buck's wife (Hank's mother) killed herself sometime in the past.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Interracial relationships.
  • Racism/prejudice.
  • Capital punishment.
  • Strained family relationships and deaths in families.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Hank fires some warning shots into the air to make some black kids, who are his neighbors, leave his property.
  • Leticia is mean to Tyrell regarding him being overweight and what he eats (even smacking him for both). She then hits him with her elbow, knocking him to the ground.
  • Lawrence is executed in the electric chair and we see his body convulse from the current and some smoke rise from his body.
  • Hank and Sonny push/shove each other a few times as Hank is upset with Sonny getting sick right before the execution. Hank then punches and hits Sonny several times.
  • Later, Sonny holds a gun on Hank and then pushes him downstairs. He keeps pushing him until he pushes him to the floor. He then kicks him in the back on the floor.
  • A person commits suicide by shooting himself in the chest.
  • We hear that a boy was hit by a car, but don't see that, and he then dies from the injuries.



  • Reviewed December 6, 2001 / Posted February 8, 2002

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