Sue Russell, biographer of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, writes about the inconvenient facts that got left out of Monster, the Wuornos biopic, in today’s Washington Post:
With “Monster’s” sympathetic take, Hollywood has put its boot print on a piece of history. And as Aileen’s biographer, I find the movie’s distortions disturbing. The filmmakers acknowledge upfront that “Monster” is fictionalized, that it is only “based upon” a true story. But will anyone notice this disclaimer, let alone pay attention to it? Already, most people seem not to. Reviewer upon reviewer has referred to Aileen’s saga as depicted in the movie as true.
To be sure, the hitchhiking prostitute who confessed to killing seven men in Florida in 1989-90 and was executed in 2002 was no JFK or Malcolm X, two other real-life figures whose stories were altered for the big screen. But by retooling her into a victim who began killing to fend off a rapist, “Monster” conveniently transforms her into something we can stomach far more easily than we can a woman who’s a ruthless robber and murderer. It perpetuates the comforting yet erroneous belief that women only kill when provoked by abuse. But women kill for other reasons, too, as Aileen’s real life amply demonstrated….
She was severely damaged goods and mentally flawed. Yet many have endured far worse than she. Ultimately, she was irredeemably dangerous. She killed in cold blood, cutting down men who had lives and wives and families. That’s a truth not even Hollywood should pretty up.
Read the whole thing here.