Welcome to A-Z Movie Reviews. Every Sunday, for the next several months, I will be posting a review of a film in my home movie collection. How it works is, I will be reviewing movies in alphabetical order until I get to the letter Z (Yes, I do have a film that ends in Z). Now I realize there are many ways to alphabetize a film collection, but this is mine so don’t judge me. This is simply for fun.
What it’s about:
A psychological thriller based on the infamous 1892 murders of Lizzie Borden’s family.
We’ve all heard the rhyme “Lizzie Borden took an axe, And gave her mother forty whacks; When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one“ many times before but we never knew much about her at all. Chloe Sevigny who stars as Lizzie worked with her longtime friend and writer Bryce Kass to develop their version of the story which gives us a glimpse at what lead up to the events of her father and stepmother’s murders.
Lizzie not only focuses on her tumultuous relationship with her family, it also shows who she was as a person and how her relationship developed with her housemaid Bridget Sullivan (Kristen Stewart). Many have speculated that Lizzie and Bridget had a sexual relationship and that she was her accomplice in the murders. Obviously we don’t know everything about these twom, but Bryce Kass and Chloe thought it would be interesting to explore what went on behind closed doors.
The plot of the story is a good one but the film was a bit slow for me. I know it couldn’t be all fast-paced but the buildup to Lizzie and Bridget’s relationship took a bit long for me. The film picks up towards the end so it is still worth investing your time in. The acting is pretty good too, particularly from Kristen Stewart.
Don’t get me wrong, Chloe Sevigny was good too, but Kristen stood out to me more. She brought a quiet vulnerability to Bridget and she was really amazing in the flashback of the murders. The acting from her was unlike any I have seen from her in other films and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.
Watching Lizzie will make you think and it may or may not make you feel for her. What I found to be interesting about the story was that there was clear evidence that Lizzie killed her father and stepmother, but she was acquitted. She never even took the stand, the jury, which was all men, deliberated for 90 minutes and they didn’t believe she could commit such a horrible crime because of her social standing.
I don’t think any of us will ever really know the true story of Lizzie Borden’s life other than the little tidbits we have gotten. She will forever be one of the most infamous women in history, for sure.