Lizzie Review

Lizzie Theatrical Poster

Many urban legends have been told about the notorious ax murderer, Lizzie Borden. As you may have heard, Borden was accused of killing her family members with an ax. Since then, her life never became the same again. Over time, she became an urban legend and one of the most notorious murderers in American history. Of course, Hollywood has told the tale of Lizzie Borden plenty of times before. Lizzie is just the latest film to depict the legend of Lizzie Borden. But how does Lizzie compare to the other depictions of Lizzie Borden?

Unfortunately, Lizzie is such a tiresome take on the urban legend. At the very least, Kristen Stewart and Chloë Sevigny give some of the best performances of their career.

Lizzie follows the events leading up to the grisly murders of the Borden family.

Lizzie - Kim Dickens & Chloë Sevigny

Lizzie isn’t a film that you’re expecting at all. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t a film about the Borden murders. Instead, it’s a character study that primarily focuses on the relationship between Lizzie and Bridget Sullivan. The problem is that the buildup to their relationship happens so suddenly. Basically, it feels like one minute they’re not together and the next Lizzie is killing for her. It doesn’t feel believable that someone would kill for someone so quickly. Granted, the film’s timeline may spread over a long period of time but it doesn’t feel that way.

Nevertheless, the film does establish quite well that the murders are somewhat warranted. Lizzie’s father isn’t a saint at all. He’s a man who uses his power to take advantage of women. Sound familiar? Sadly, the stepmother is an innocent victim in all of this. To the point where she’s barely in the film at all. So when the murders do happen, you want one to die while you don’t care if the other one dies. Be that as it may, once it reaches that point in the film, you’ll be at the edge of your seat.

Not to mention, Lizzie Borden is not a character that you sympathize with at all. Her demeanor and personality are what you call prickly and icy. Hence, she isn’t a person that you’ll necessarily like. Yet the film still tries to depict her as a sympathetic character. Yet, you still dislike her.

Be that as it may, Bridget Sullivan is the one-and-only character that you sympathize with in the entire film. She’s the biggest victim in this because she’s gone through the most. It also helps that she’s not a total bitch like Lizzie is either.

Lizzie - Kristen Stewart & Chloe Sevigny

Despite all these issues, the film is very atmospheric. It feels as if the film transports you into this era. Unfortunately, the film is also a slow burn type of film. The film goes at such a snail pace that everything just feels like it just drags.

Kristen Stewart is quite impressive because she brings a lot of emotions to the table. Her body language and facial expressions also provide a lot of depth to her character. Chloë Sevigny is stellar as Lizzie Borden. She has a subtle psychotic side to her that adds some layers to her bitchy exterior. She’s not likable but maybe that’s the point. You won’t like Sevigny’s character at all and that’s why she succeeds.

Overall, Lizzie is a slow take on the legend of the Borden murders. It’s atmospheric, creepy, and full of despicable characters. Yet the cast nails the performance of these characters. Those looking for brutality and gore won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

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