A psychological thriller based on the infamous 1892 murders of the Borden family.
The tale of Lizzie Borden, who was accused and acquitted of the axe murders of her father and stepmother in 1892, has became a major part of American folklore largely down to the sheer brutality of the murders and the way the trial played out. It has led to numerous works musing on the true story of what really happened and ‘Lizzie’ is the latest piece of work to tackle the story, focusing on Lizzie Borden (Chloe Sevigny) and her life leading up to the murders, exploring her relationship with a young maid (Kristen Stewart) and her relationship with her father (Jamey Sheridan). Chloe Sevigny is a terrific actress, generally in supporting roles, and she excels in a leading role here, whilst Kristen Stewart continues a strong recent run as the maid who finds herself involved in the story.
The film centres on Lizzie herself and the life that she leads, portraying her as a social outcast unable to escape her father’s control. She’s 32 during the events of the film, unmarried (a rarity for the time), and lives in a strange state of flux, with her father’s financial situation giving her a comfortable existence without her ever really being able to capitalise on it. The film presents other potential suspects, namely John Morse (Denis O’Hare), Lizzie’s uncle who was responsible for some strange events around the house and who had motive to want her father dead, however I felt it tentatively came down on the widely regarded consensus that Lizzie was responsible.
I felt ‘Lizzie’ was an interesting piece of work about a crime that has fascinated America for decades, and its driven by a very good performance from Sevigny that makes us empathise with Lizzie, if not condone her actions (if it was indeed her). For anyone not familiar with the case, I’d recommend, although I’m not sure this brings much new to the table otherwise.
Directed By: Craig William Macneill
Starring: Chloe Sevigny, Kristen Stewart, Jay Huguley, Fiona Shaw, Jamey Sheridan, Denis O’Hare, Kim Dickens and Jeff Perry