Jean Smart shines in a stunning performance as Aileen Wuornos, the woman convicted of seven murders in Florida that stumped investigators for months before her arrest.
Wuornos and buddy Tyria Moore (Park Overall) travel Florida, staying in cheap motels, with Wuornos plying her trade as a hooker and Moore working as a maid.
While media accounts at the time suggested the two women had a romantic relationship, the vidpic portrays only a close friendship, which is the central emotional focus of the story.
Driven by rage at childhood sexual abuse, Wuornos turns on her tricks, mostly middle-aged and older men, and kills them, often after sex, usually leaving the bodies of the men where they died near rural backroads.
Police and FBI are puzzled at first, since serial killers are almost exclusively male, but slowly put the pieces together to form the profile of the rare female serial killer.
While writer Fred Mills and director Peter Levin try to address the ultimate question of how Wuornos became a serial killer with a series of flashbacks to childhood, audience is never given a definitive answer.
However, Smart’s exquisitely drawn portrayal of this tormented woman makes her utterly convincing in her destructive powerlessness, even though its exact cause is never made totally clear.
Overall is also excellent as the bewildered but loyal friend. Their relationship is the emotional centerpiece of the story.
While the movie does not purport to offer a larger message or moral about this female serial killer, it does offer a fascinating and poignant miniaturist portrait of the troubled lives of Wuornos and her companion Moore.