The murder of Lizzie Borden’s father and step-mother captured the attention of a nation in the late 19th century and continues to live on in the lore of Americana. The brutality of the murder, coupled with the unlikely prime suspect, Lizzie herself, cemented the crime as one of the United State’s most infamous cases. Did Lizzie do it? And if so, why? Those have always been the questions that haunt this case. In Lizzie, we get a hypothetical answer, and it’s far more chilling than what we were taught in history class. Lizzie stars Chloë Sevigny, who also executive produced the movie and has been trying to get the project off the ground for a decade. Out actor Kristen Stewart joins her as Bridget Sullivan, an Irish maid who forms a connection with Lizzie. So why is Lizzie different than other Borden adaptations, and why should you go to your local theatre and check it out? Here are four big reasons why.
1. Hello, it’s K-stew! “So, so gay” actress Kristen Stewart does a wonderful turn as Bridget Sullivan, the woman who would ultimately hold Lizzie’s fate (and if this movie’s theory is to be believed, her heart) in her hands. This quiet and understated role works with Stewart’s natural style, and when she and Lizzie find themselves in each other’s orbit, it feels authentic.
2. Yes, there is lesbianing. In this adaptation of the Lizzie Bordon story, Lizzie is a lesbian, something that is hinted at by more than just Lizzie herself. This is no secret to viewers as the trailer shows Lizzie and Bridget together, and there are a lot of reasons why these two are drawn to one another. Their fates are forever intertwined. To be a lesbian and an unmarried woman in the late 1800s certainly put a lot of otherness on Lizzie, which Sevigny pulls off with aplomb. Which brings me to…
3. Chloe Sevigny is really good in this. Sevigny has had a mixed bag of roles over the years, but none have really allowed her to shine in the way that Lizzie does. That steeliness that Sevigny possesses works perfectly in Lizzie, and her passion for the project shines through. Hollywood may not always know what to do with Sevigny, but she’s always taken her destiny into her own hands, much like the titular character. What hits you first and foremost is the intense intelligence that both Lizzie and Sevigny share.
4. It’s loaded with out actors! Not only is Stewart a major player in Lizzie, but so are out lesbian actress Fiona Shaw (as Abby Bordon) and out gay actor Denis O’Hare (as John Morse). I can’t remember the last time that there was a film where three out of five lead actors were openly LGBTQ!
Lizzie is now open in select theatres and opening in more theatres this Friday.