A personal shopper in Paris refuses to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message.
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
Speculative but well-made take on one of America's most famous crimes
"Lizzie" chronicles one of America's most famous crimes-the hatchet murders of prominent Massachusetts businessman Andrew Borden and his wife, Abby. The suspect? His spinster daughter, Lizzie, whose name has gone down in infamy.
Originally a passion project for star Chloë Sevigny, around whom talk has circled for nearly a decade regarding a Lizzie Borden biopic/miniseries, "Lizzie" is a well-made psychological drama that will likely satisfy as many people as it will utterly alienate. The screenplay here, as with any kind of historical fiction, takes liberties and makes speculations, the most singular being that Lizzie committed the murders after her father uncovered a romantic relationship between her and the Bordens' house servant, an Irish immigrant named Bridget Sullivan. While this is obviously speculative, when one actually sits and considers the written accounts and evidence, it is not necessarily unlikely, and is a position that has been argued by several historians and journalists. Did it really happen this way? We will never know for sure.
That aside, this take on the material is above-average in many ways: It's well-shot and atmospheric, with just the right touches of the Victorian Gothic. It's also remarkably well-acted, with Sevigny surprisingly turning in a convincing performance as Borden (as a huge fan of her work, I was personally skeptical of whether the role would fit her right). Kristen Stewart is perhaps more shockingly good as Bridget, the servant caught in the eye of the storm. I do feel the film stumbles a bit in terms of its narrative structure, as it begins with a snippet of the crime's "discovery," then loops back to the build-up before cutting away again just before the killings. The gritty details then are presented in a flashback which, though effective, I think would have better served as a straightforward conclusion in a chronological account. The court scenes that rear themselves in the last act, though brief, feel dull and ultimately draw the viewer out of the core narrative; and, given that the audience ostensibly already knows how it ends, I feel the filmmakers would have benefitted from laying the story out in a no-nonsense fashion.
Despite these narrative pitfalls, I still found "Lizzie" a compelling take on a rather common (and frankly well-supported) theory regarding the Borden murders. Did it happen exactly this way? Probably not. But there is potential truth here. And even if there's not, the story itself remains compelling all the same. 7/10.
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