MONSTER'S BALL     - A Narada Film Review

 Heath LEDGER,  
 Sean COMBS 
 & Billy Bob
 Billy Bob THORNTON, 
 Peter BOYLE, 
 Halle BERRY  
 Billy Bob
MONSTER'S BALL , Directed by Mark Forster , Produced by Lee Daniels .

      Bangkok, 26 May 2002
      Every once in a while, an original film will come out of Hollywood, and Bangkok is lucky enough to have one showing in town at the moment.   MONSTER'S BALL reminds many viewers of many different films, but it is not really like any of them.    This reviewer is most reminded of BLUE VELVET , but without the bizzare.
       MONSTER'S BALL takes place in Georgia, USA, and is a story of a black family and a white family and how their paths intersect, seemingly only tangentially at first, but later, totally.   Not coincidentally, the two familys' paths intersect for the first time at the Monster's Ball.
      Both families are nearly completely dysfunctional.    Hank Grotowski (Billy Bob Thornton) lives with his obsessively bigotted invalid father, Buck (Peter Boyle) , and his grown son, Sonny (Heath Ledger) , whom he considers a weakling.    Leticia Musgrove (Halle Berry) is trying to hold her family together as her husband, Lawrence (Sean Combs) is being sent to the electric chair for murder.    Her young son, Tyrell (Coronji Calhoun) , an obese, compulsive eater, does not fare well through all this.
       Hank Grotowski is a person who doesn't like himself or his way of life very much.    He sets out to rectify this after a trajedy in the family.    Fate continues to deal a heavy hand, deflecting him in a direction he never intended, or imagined.   Hank neither tries to get off of Fate's new horse, nor dig in the spurs .    He stays on for the ride - and it takes him pretty much to the same place.
      There is a continuing thread of racism and racial tension throughout MONSTER'S BALL but to the credit of Director, Mark Forster , this film is also about how people manage to get on with their lives and, for the most part, with one another in spite of this.   Forster manages this in an original and unobtrusive way, and completely without the sermon.
      There were a few slow sequences that were probably left in to impress the artsy-phartsy set, but which could have just as well rested on the cutting room floor until the janitor disposed of them.    Nevertheless, MONSTER'S BALL is a must-see.   Buy the DVD, this is a keeper.

       Enduring Line Or Phrase:   " I...I'm not sure what you want me to do... "

  Reviewed by Narada for Bangkok Eyes - 26 May 2002

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