6 of the Best Monologues in Film: For the times you’re happy, the times you’re sad, and the times you just want to feel something.

Monologues are an essential part of a film. When executed properly, they don’t only give plot and character exposition, they present the actor with an opportunity to, in that moment, display their acting chops— it’s a make or breaks in the film. It’s you, the cameras, and the audience. Any other character is a spectator at best. We’ve seen it fail horribly with Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) in After Earth, and Johnny Mnemonic (Keanu Reeves) in well…John Mnemonic and we’ve seen it succeed spectacularly. So here are 6 of the best monologues in film.

1.Good Will Hunting: Your Move, Chief

Written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting is a 1997 drama about 20-year-old Will Hunting (Matt Damon), a misguided youth with genius-level IQ, who after assaulting a police officer, his professor makes a deal to get leniency for him if he gets treatment from therapist, Sean Maguire (Robin Williams). The film, through the therapy sessions, journeys the unraveling of Hunting’s relationship with himself and those around him.

In the scene popularly known as “the bench scene”, we see Hunting through Maguire’s lenses. The bench scene is one of the most powerful scenes in the film where Maguire tells Hunting (Matt Damon) in less plain terms that the core values that shape a human aren’t things that can be read in books or seen on TV.

Thought about what you said to me the other day. About my painting. Stayed up half the night thinking about it. Something occurred to me. And I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep, and I haven’t thought about you since. You know what occurred to me?…You’re just a kid. You don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about…It’s alright. You’ve never been out of Boston…So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the on about every art book ever written. Michelangelo. You know a lot about him. Life’s work. Political aspirations. Him and the Pope. Sexual orientation. The whole works, right? But I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus of your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. If I ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right? ‘Once more into the breach, dear friends.’ But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap and watch him gasp his last breath, looking to you for help. If I ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone who can level you with her eyes. Feel like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of Hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel. To have that love for her be there forever. Through anything. Through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping, sitting up in a hospital room for two months, holding her hand because the doctors could see in your eyes that the terms ‘visiting hours’ don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss. Because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. I look at you, I don’t see an intelligent, confident man. I see a cocky, scared-shitless kid. But you’re a genius, Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine. You ripped my fuckin’ life apart. You’re an orphan, right? Do you think I’d know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally, I don’t give a shit about all that. Because you know what? I can’t learn anything from you that I can’t read in some fuckin’ book. Unless you want to talk about you. Who you are. And I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that, do you, sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.

Robin Williams went on to win an Academy Award for his portrayal of Sean Maguire and this scene was so iconic that the Boston Garden Bench on which he sat in the scene, was transformed into a memorial for the actor after his passing in 2014.

2.The Lighthouse: You Don’t Like My Cooking?

The Lighthouse is a 2019 film directed and co-written by Robert Eggers that tells the story of two lighthouse keepers who after a storm, are left stranded on a remote island and slowly lose grip of their sanity and their grasp on reality.

In this comical, terrifying and slightly sad scene, after Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) condemns Thomas Wake’s (Willem Defoe) cooking, Thomas, in a state of disbelief, and anger, goes on an unhinged two-minute rant and it is one of the most memorable scenes in the film. This scene is epic for a number of reasons. Top of the list being Defoe’s utter brilliance, closely followed by the beautiful lighting occasionally shape-shifting Thomas from man to monster, and then the beautiful use of language as an art form.

Wake: Yer fond of me lobster aint’ ye? I seen it – yer fond of me lobster! Say it! Say it. Say it!

Winslow: I don’t have to say nothin’.

Wake: Damn ye! Let Neptune strike ye dead Winslow! HAAARK!Hark Triton, hark! Bellow, bid our father the Sea King rise from the depths full foul in his fury! Black waves teeming with salt foam to smother this young mouth with pungent slime, to choke ye, engorging your organs til’ ye turn blue and bloated with bilge and brine and can scream no more – only when he, crowned in cockle shells with slitherin’ tentacle tail and steaming beard take up his fell be-finned arm, his coral-tine trident screeches banshee-like in the tempest and plunges right through yer gullet, bursting ye – a bulging bladder no more, but a blasted bloody film now and nothing for the harpies and the souls of dead sailors to peck and claw and feed upon only to be lapped up and swallowed by the infinite waters of the Dread Emperor himself – forgotten to any man, to any time, forgotten to any god or devil, forgotten even to the sea, for any stuff for part of Winslow, even any scantling of your soul is Winslow no more, but is now itself the sea!

Winslow: Alright, have it your way. I like your cookin’.

3.The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Charlie’s Last Letter

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), based on the 1999 novel of the same name, follows the life of Charlie (Logan Lerman), a shy, awkward teenager in freshman year who befriends senior year students, Sam (Emma Watson) and her stepbrother, Patrick (Ezra Miller). He documents his journey through life, love, laughter, and everything in between with his new friends in a letter to another friend, who is unnamed.

Charlie’s Last Letter is heard in the heart-warming final scene, the night Charlie is released from the hospital. The words of the letter are the voiceover of the scene as Charlie and his friends drive through the tunnel, where he acknowledges feeling alive, present, and “infinite”—it’s a beautiful moment. Something about this final scene is enthralling— maybe it’s David Bowie’s Hero playing the background, maybe it’s how it sparks a range of emotions all at the same time.

This is one of the best book-to-film adaptations out there and for obvious reasons. Stephen Chbosky, the writer of the novel, also served as the director and screenwriter of the film.

I don’t know if I will have the time to write anymore letters because I might be too busy trying to participate. So if this does end up being the last letter, I just want you to know that I was in a bad place before I started high school and you helped me. Even if you didn’t know what I was talking about or know someone who’s gone through it. You made me not feel alone. Because I know there are people who say all these things don’t happen. And there are people who forget what it’s like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen. And know these will all be stories someday and our pictures will become old photographs and we’ll all become somebody’s mom or dad. But right now these moments are not stories. This is happening. I am here and I am looking at her and she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story, you are alive. And you stand up and see the lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder, when you were listening to that song on that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite.

4. American Psycho: Morning Routine

In this 2000 black comedy directed and co-written by Mary Harron, and based on a (1991) book of the same name, Christian Bale plays the role of Patrick Bateman…an American psycho. The Morning Routine monologue at the start of the film is a perfect introduction to the character. He tells us where he lives before he tells us his name, which shows us the things he prioritizes in life.

I live in the American Gardens building on West 81st street. My name is Patrick Bateman. I’m 27 years old. I believe in taking care of myself, and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now. After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower, I use a water activated gel cleanser. Then a honey almond body scrub. And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub. Then apply an herb mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion. There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me. Only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our life styles are probably comparable, I simply am not there.

This is one of the better character expositions in cinema. This monologue brilliantly paints the picture of Patrick Bateman, the narcissist. The voice and the way the scene is filmed are exceptionally smooth and rhythmic. The way he says“…there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me. Only an entity, something illusory,” while peeling off his mask; the way the background music fades away when he says “I simply am not there”. Incredible.

5.V for Vendetta: The V Monologue

Written by the Wachowskis, this 2005 political thriller is perhaps where audiences saw Hugo Weaving at his finest. Playing the character of V, Hugo Weaving grabs this film by the wheel and takes us on a journey we haven’t forgotten over 16 years later.

Despite the countless notable lines in this masterpiece, the V Monologue stands out as arguably the most memorable moment is this film. After a masked, cloaked man, V (Hugo Weaving) has rescued Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) from the Fingerman, she asks who he is and this is when he introduces himself.

I’m not questioning your powers of observation, I’m merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is… But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace soubriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona. Voila! In view humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the “vox populi” now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin, van guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V.

Many people commend this monologue for its effective use of alliteration and while that is laudable, it deserves high points for its exquisite storytelling. In this scene, V is indeed answering the question, albeit elaborately, asked by Evey, telling her not only who he is but what he represents. He states that due to certain unfortunate circumstances, he is a victim and a villain who is masked not as a show of vanity, but as a representation of what is left of the hopes of the people. This one-minute monologue, if we pay close attention, tells us pretty much everything we need to know about him— his motivations, aspirations, intentions, etc. In the penultimate sentence, where he expresses his vengeful intentions, note the ominous music, a moment of anger immediately doused by a chuckle of excitement. This scene is a masterpiece and though it has been talked about a lot, there is so much more to be said.

6.Rick Balboa: How Winning is Done

Rocky Balboa is the 2006 sequel to Rocky V where we get to see Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) as a retired widower. It’s years after we’ve seen the Rocky we knew and loved but it’s also where we get to see Rocky in presumably his most human formless as a boxer or a fighter (although the film is still about boxing), and more as a man. A man dealing with grief strained relationships etc.

The How Winning is Done speech was actually a talk to his son, Rocky Jr. (Milo Ventimiglia), after he blamed his father for his failures, alluding to his father trying to steal the spotlight, and discouraging his father from taking on one more fight, saying he’s (Rocky Jr.) only started to get his life together “and then this (the fight Rocky is about to take on) happens”. In this moment, Rocky tells his son a thing or two about winning.

You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here… I’d hold you up to say to your mother, “this kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilige. Then the time comes for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain’t gonna have a life.

Unlike many of the monologues on this list, in this scene, it feels like Rocky is talking to all of us. This speech resonated with audiences worldwide. People connected with Rocky’s words on a deeper level particularly because these words actually relate to Sylvester Stallone who basically started from nothing— from living in foster care to getting kicked out of his apartment, to living in the bus station, to selling his dog just to get by. All until he wrote Rocky. Inspirational stories surrounding this monologue range from people quitting drugs, to coping with loss, to finding the strength to enjoy the things they used to love.

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