- Director: Craig William Macneill
- Writer: Bryce Kass
- Producer: Edward J. Anderson; Roxanne Fie Anderson
The enduring tale of Lizzie Borden...gets overhauled, yet again! How many times can this tale be told? Countless, it would seem.
For those unacquainted with Lizzie...well, over a hundred years ago, Lizzie was put on trial for the murders of her [rather wealthy] father and step-mother. She was acquitted!
This Lizzie is a total and mindless fabrication of the facts...making out that Lizzie - unequivocally - did do the murders due to being 'discovered' - en flagrante - in a lesbian tryst with her maid...who was her incompetent accomplice in the crime...but, a competent witness in aiding and abetting her actual acquittal.
The question has to be asked: Why is the Lizzie Borden story so enduring? Legally, it highlights the 'irregularities' within the judicial system. It also gives an insight into the inadmissibility of evidence and the competence to testify...as well as highlighting the well-defined route of probate...and, the oldest of legal chestnuts, the jury's [and the public's] ability to subjectively pre-judge. Where's that good old-fashioned objectivity when you [legally] need it!?! Many an accused has been 'saved' due to the lack of it! Legally, it's a fascinating case.
Sadly, this film is not...for it does not concern itself wholly with the trial. Instead, it relies on strings of sapphic invention that get [all] knotted up within an inexplicably muddled time-line. Craig William Macneill's cinematic pace is too slow to start and too quick too finish...and, with a middle that stumbles all over the place.
Now, the whole Lizzie-was-a-lezzie theory is not new...Ed McBain dreamt up this little peach way back in 1984...so, Bryce Kass' screenplay is a shining example of brazen plagiarism. Or, to be politely euphemistic, he borrowed the idea...but, failed to make his script as brazen as it had the potential to be...even with those [eccentric] lines infused with some neo-feminist chic!
Chloe Sevigny, Kristen Stewart and Fiona Shaw all convince. Even the cinematographer convinces. Such a shame that neither director nor writer could do a similar [good] job.
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 and that is not only falling in love, at the same time they're are both victims of physical and sexual abuse from Mr. Borden. But tension in the Borden household, leading to a violent breaking point.