By her own confession, Aileen Wuornos murdered six men in the years 1989 and 1990 - all in self-defence, she claimed. The media hyped her as America's first female serial killer, and a lesbian to boot. Here Theron transforms her cover-girl looks into a fair facsimile of Aileen's sinewy, sun-coarsened scowl. The casting is ironic, anti-iconic - the film begins with Aileen putting a gun in her mouth, suicidal, reflecting quite articulately on the beauty myths and fairy tales which have brought her nothing but destitution and despair. Then she meets Selby (Ricci) and falls in love despite herself. Jenkins' film was made cheaply and looks it, but rekindles some of the subversive ire you find in Sam Fuller's Naked Kiss or Penelope Spheeris' Boys Next Door. All these films trade lurid, exploitative elements to expose a wider social hypocrisy. Ricci's role is too ill-defined for the love story to mean as much as it should, but Theron's performance goes beyond cosmetics to dig out the blind fury, the madness and the hope which put Wuornos on Death Row.

By: TCh

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Cast and crew

Director: Patty Jenkins
Screenwriter: Patty Jenkins
Cast: Charlize Theron
Christina Ricci
Bruce Dern
Lee Tergesen
Annie Corley
Marco St John
Pruitt Taylor Vince
Scott Wilson
Marc Macaulay
Rus Blackwell
Tim Ware
Stephan Jones
Brett Rice
Kaitlin Riley
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