A woman returns to her Orthodox Jewish community that shunned her for her attraction to a female childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.
In 1892, after the Borden family welcomes a new Irish maid called Bridget Sullivan (Kristen Stewart), she and Lizzie (Chloë Sevigny) become friends. The friendship between these women becomes something more, even as Lizzie's relationship with her own parents unravels at a frightening level.Written by
Premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. See more »
The end of the film states that Emma and Lizzie had a rift "soon after" the trial and became estranged, but it was actually 12 years later that Emma separated from Lizzie and moved out of their house forever. No one knows for sure what the rift was about, but it's believed by many that Emma discovered Lizzie really was guilty of the murders. See more »
"You seem obsessed with the concept of illumination. Are you by chance an Edison?"
A Museum of Artistic Accomplishment in Cinema (M.A.A.C.) Review
Lizzie / Director: Craig William Macneill / Career Catalog #12 / Review #0003
The put-upon daughter of an unscrupulous businessman and an ineffectual stepmother, concerned over her future being left in the hands of her failed horse-trading uncle, slowly becomes unhinged in her desire to protect her inheritance. The story of Lizzie Borden is an oft-told tale and is often overly sensationalized. It's refreshing to see such a low-key representation brought to the screen. The evolving relationship between Lizzie and her family's new maid Bridget Sullivan, as well as its inevitable consequences, is played very naturally with no hesitations or missteps. Both Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart fold themselves into their roles so snugly that it's easy to forget we're watching actresses portraying roles and not real people living their lives on celluloid for our amusement. Both are willing to take emotional risks that other actresses might not want to endure. Allowing themselves to be vulnerable in their performances allows themselves a greater opportunity to be honest with their audience. Sometimes it is not what is said but what is left unsaid between them in certain scenes which creates the dramatic tension necessary to sustain the film.
I love films that can effortlessly transport me back to a specific period of time and "Lizzie" succeeds admirably in that respect. Even though it is limited in its locations and its costume design, I never once question its 1892 setting. The Borden home's own clever construction cages both Lizzie and Bridget in a colorless, sterile world where overpoweringly bright (yet sunless) whites and sinister shades of brown and black provide an aura of claustrophobia which dominates their lives . . . no matter how large the rooms are through which they roam. It's not surprising then that the violently shocking green leaves of the pear tree are predominantly seen in sequences at the beginning and the end of the film when Lizzie feels her freest.
Noah Greenberg's cinematography is masterful in its framing of characters and its capture of essence. I've been a fan of Greenberg's work since "Camino" three years prior and he certainly doesn't disappoint here. I was particularly fascinated by the use of candlelight in an early sequence when Bridget is introduced to the Borden home. Many modern filmmakers would have darkened the surrounding areas too much and would not have allowed the candle to become the center of the visual space . . . which would have been a woeful mistake. Here it is handled beautifully, with its warm glow creating a bubble between characters that feels at once threateningly fragile and intimately intense. The sound design is a superb counterpart to the visuals. An operatic sequence is bold and room-filling while more guarded conversations are quiet and lifelike without overwhelming the audience, as some recent films have had a tendency to do. Overall, I feel there is a greater depth of realism in this retelling of the Borden legacy and I personally found it to be a thrilling way to pass an hour and three quarter's worth of my time. Maybe you will, too.