R | 1h 45min | Biography, Crime, Drama | 14 September 2018 (USA)
Synopsis: Academy Award® nominee Chloë Sevigny stars as Lizzie Borden, the notorious woman at the heart of one of the most enduring mysteries in American history. After a lifetime of loneliness, Lizzie finds a kindred spirit in housemaid Bridget Sullivan and their secret intimacy sparks an unthinkable act. Director Craig William Macneill explores the days leading up to the savage crimes in a dark tale of repression, exploitation and thwarted dreams.
Review: The new bio drama LIZZIE is brutal; both in the plot line and the long boring parts. That being said it is an interesting viewpoint of the Lizzie Borden murders and more intriguing than others I have seen. We all know that creepy kids rhyme that terrified us but I must admit I knew little more than the 40 whacks thing. After watching this movie I sort of have the feeling that Lizzie needed a better poem. I mean she was still crazy but maybe with reason.
Chloe Sevigny portrays Lizzie Borden as a strong willed woman with a domineering father (Jamey Sheridan) and unsympathetic step-mom (Fiona Shaw). Her family is super wealthy and well respected which only adds to her need to march to her own drum. She is rebellious but you soon understand that it might be warranted. Her dad controls everything and has threatened more than once to send her away and disinherit her due to her “spells”. These spells could be epilepsy, anxiety, or just a super tight corset.
When the Bordens hire a new maid, Bridget Sullivan (Kristen Stewart), Lizzie quickly finds a friend, ally, and confidant. The two help each other deal with personal struggles and the abuse handed down in many forms by Mr. Borden. The movie added some elements that I rolled my eyes at and just wrote off as Hollywood sensationalism. But after reading some of the true accounts of Lizzie’s life I put my eyes back where they belong.
I am a fan of both Sevigny and Stewart and it was enjoyable watching them both together here. To be honest when I first heard of the film and cast I hoped that Stewart would be the one playing Lizzie Borden. After watching it though I think the casting decisions were spot on. Bridget was an Irish servant girl and Kristen nails that submissive mousy motif. Likewise understanding the headstrong nature of Lizzie it fits with Chloe perfectly.
The only issue I had worth mentioning is the moments of dull lethargy that plagues this film. It starts off strong and ends even stronger but there are moments in between that are painfully slow and void of anything close to engaging. If you use the moments as information tools it helps. Again the story seems to line up with real life testimony and personal accounts so having those times are beneficial just not as entertaining.
LIZZIE is rated R for violence and grisly images, nudity, a scene of sexuality and some language. It is certainly an adult film. I give it 3.5 out of 5 whack whack whacks.I walked away intrigued be her personal life and it prompted me to do some reading. That is never a bad thing. Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the murders and the case went unsolved. I will say without giving anything away that the movie does have its own opinion of what really happened. It is that ramped up twist at the end that gives it a grand finish.