tek's rating: ¼

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax, on Lifetime
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This aired in 2014, but I didn't see it until 2020. I mainly wanted to see it because it stars Christina Ricci. And um... now that I've seen it, I'm not sure what to say. Of course, Lizzie Borden is famous for having killed her parents, except that it's unknown whether or not she actually committed the crime. And this TV movie sheds little if any light on the matter. There's really not much to the plot. One summer day in 1892, Lizzie (Ricci) finds her father having been murdered, and then the story flashes back a bit, so we can see a bit of the relationship between Lizzie and her father, Andrew (Stephen McHattie) and stepmother, Abby (Sara Botsford), as well as her older sister, Emma (Clea DuVall). It seemed to me that the relationship between Lizzie and Andrew wasn't all that good; it actually kind of reminded me of the father/daughter relationship in Ricci's webseries Z: The Beginning of Everything, except that I got the vague impression that at some point in the past, there might have been some incest between Lizzie and her father. Honestly, though, I wasn't at all sure of that. What's more, if there was incest, I couldn't tell whether it had possibly been consensual. In fact, it almost seemed as if the father would have been the victim in such a scenario (which is ridiculous). But other than that, it seemed like Andrew was overly controlling. (Like, seriously, I'm not sure I've ever seen any story give more mixed signals than this one.)

But we don't have too much time to get any sort of particularly clear impression of what the relationship between Lizzie and her parents may or may not have been, before the story catches up to the opening scene, with Lizzie finding her father dead, and screaming. The police are summoned, and soon thereafter Abby's body is discovered. She had apparently been murdered about two hours before Andrew was. And um... it's not long before Lizzie is arrested on suspicion of killing them both. And she stands trial, defended by Andrew Jennings (Billy Campbell) and prosecuted by Hosea Knowlton (Gregg Henry). Through it all, Lizzie maintains her innocence, and Emma supports her.

I don't want to say more than that, about the plot. But I will say that there are flashbacks that show Lizzie committing the crimes, but it's unclear whether that's what really happened, or just based on speculation. Also, throughout the movie, there's occasionally some very modern music (which reminded me of things like Marie Antoinette, A Knight's Tale, and yes, Shrek). And... the TV movie led to a limited series called "The Lizzie Borden Chronicles," which I'd like to see despite my mixed feelings about the movie itself. It's just... weird, how all the things about this movie that make me feel it wasn't that good also make me kind of like it. (It's kind of like the "so bad it's good" phenomenon, but more like "so 'I have no idea what to think about any of this' that it's good-ish.") Also, Christina Ricci.

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