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Hollywood Rewind | Halle Berry and Heath Ledger steal the show in Monster’s Ball

Monster's Ball is, by no definition, easy on the eyes or on the mind. Of course, it's not gory, but it is a painful, heartwrenching watch. And Halle Berry is stupendous as the woman who has lost everything.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi |
Updated: September 16, 2019 4:56:27 pm
monster's ball Halle Berry gives a stunning performance in Monster’s Ball.

Monster’s Ball movie cast: Billy Bob Thorton, Heath Ledger, Halle Berry, Sean Combs
Monster’s Ball movie director: Marc Forster
Monster’s Ball movie rating: 3.5 stars

Sometimes, in the world of cinema, it just so happens that you only occupy the screen for a brief period of time and you still manage to leave an indelible impression. Halle Berry’s performance in the 2002’s Monster’s Ball was exactly that.

Berry played a widow called Leticia Musgrove in the Marc Forster directorial. Berry was a woman who had lost her husband, and later on, her son.

Monster’s Ball is, by no definition, easy on the eyes or on the mind. Of course, it’s not gory, but it is a painful, heartwrenching watch. I mean if you have a practically heartless and racist prison guard (Billy Bob Thorton) as your male lead, there’s just no escaping the darkness. And how do you feel anything for a man as pathetic as Thorton’s Hank. He was cruel, mean and plain-out abusive. There was absolutely no redemption for him. And this, I believe, was one of the biggest failings of the film. When you have a problem rooting for your hero, you have nothing to hang onto for the rest of the movie.

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However, both Heath Ledger and Halle Berry made up for what was lacking in Thorton’s character. Heath was particularly convincing as the gentle and compassionate son of Hank, who had the one thing his father lacked — love.

As far as Berry’s act is concerned, it was top-notch. Her character would often mock and abuse her son for his obesity. But in the next minute, she would break down and take him in her arms. Mothers. Sometimes, you can’t do with them, and almost always, you cannot deal with life without their overarching, all-consuming presence.

Berry was not just a mother, she was also a wife whose husband was being executed. She was, most of all, a woman, whose life was falling apart. However, she was somehow standing still, braving the storm.

Hollywood Rewind: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles

There is one sequence in particular which comes to mind, where Berry’s character and Thorton’s character have a sit-down post her son’s death. She is going through her son’s old photographs, laughing and pointing out his quirks to a confused and out-of-place Hank. While recounting his eccentricities, she breaks down. In that scene, Halle becomes Leticia, she owns her character’s failings and grief as her own.

If not for anything, watch Monster’s Ball for Halle Berry and Heath Ledger. Sweet and heartbreaking, all at once.

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