This reminded me a lot of Boys Don't Cry, for which Hilary Swank was nominated for and won an Oscar in 2000. It's gritty and gripping. It's frightening to think that things like this actually happen. And it all actually happened. Lee Wuornos is called the first female serial killer, and she was put to death by lethal injection in 2002.
Charlize Theron was incredible. I've never been very impressed with her or her acting, and I had my doubts. I mean we're used to seeing her looking like a gorgeous blonde Barbie doll, not a desperate hooker and misandronistic serial killer. But you forget it's the glamour girl about five minutes into the picture. The fact that they changed the colour of her eyes is just the most subtle, yet impressive, part of the whole cosmetic transformation.
Virtually ignored in all the Oscar hype, Christina Ricci is also brilliant in this as the girlfriend (but then, who remembers Chlöe Sevigny in Boys?) who inspires Lee's killing spree. She's vulnerable and demanding all at once, and she is as vital a part of this film as Theron is.
While not perfect (and, like 21 Grams, not truly deserving of a Best Picture nomination), this is a movie film, and one that, once seen, won't be quickly forgotten.
(This is movie number 16 in 2004. As of February 28, 2003, I had seen 15 films. If only I'd been able to see one today...)