LIZZIE Review – Takes a Swing and Hits the Mark

Share this:

Lizzie Review — The biopic about Lizzie Borden starring Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart is bleeding edge 

Lizzie Review“Lizzie Borden took an ax, and gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41.”

Those are lines from an old nursery rhyme (cute, huh?) but the story is in fact true. There’s a new biopic starring Chloë Sevigny in the title role and while it’s not a bloody good time, it is an absorbing and thoughtful study of a woman who’s gone down in the history books as a villain through and through.

Although not much is known about the accused murderess, the filmmakers behind Lizzie do draw some compelling conclusions, showing that they not only did their research but they took the time to imbue history’s typical cardboard cutouts with true passion and motivation.

Sevigny is, no surprise, superlative in the role of the well-to-do 19th century Massachusetts spinster. From her starched collar to her Victorian lace-up ankle boots, and the lustful heart that lies between, she gives her all.

It’s Kristen Stewart who may startle you with her subtle, carefully crafted performance as the Borden’s long-suffering Irish maid. She has come a long way from her blank-eyed Twilight days and she keeps getting better.

Jamey Sheridan plays Lizzie and Emma’s (Kim Dickens) domineering daddy, while Fiona Shaw is their dour and secret-keeping stepmother. Another standout is Denis O’Hare as Lizzie’s scheming, scumbag uncle who has designs on the girls’ inevitable inheritance.

Director Craig William Macneill (The Boy) and screenwriter Bryce Kass (Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs) offer a different take on the case, turning the tale toward melodrama and choosing it over mayhem. Yes, the hatchet-slayings are shown in all their gory glory, but there are no standard-issue horror movie tropes… which, perhaps, makes the murders that much more chilling. An unnerving score and stark cinematography complete the picture.

What’s more, Lizzie is an intelligent, slow-burn chamber piece that serves as a subtle nod to the #MeToo movement in addition to being one of the better female-centric biopics of recent years.

1 hour 45 minutes
Rated R

Did this Lizzie review intrigue you? Get showtimes at

Lizzie Review — The biopic about Lizzie Borden starring Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart is bleeding edge 

Share this:
Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson is an accomplished writer / director / producer / film critic and the author the bestseller So L.A. - A Hollywood Memoir. Find her on

1 Comment

  1. Origins: Lizzie – Taking Up Room on September 13, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    […] suit. What’s really funny is that some early reviews have called the movie a “biopic,” and “well-researched.” Um, no. Just […]

Leave a Comment

The Latest

CRISIS Review — A Seriously Remarkable Film About a Seriously Tragic Issue

FRENCH EXIT Review — Suffering from Potentially Terminal Ennui

MANK Review — All Hollywood Loves It, But Others? Meh

Check Out the Results of the 26th Annual Critics Choice Awards


Nomadland Review — Stunningly Subtle and Sublime

Film Nominations for the 26th Annual Critics Choice Awards Announced

THE MIDNIGHT SKY Review — George Clooney’s Latest Launches Beauty, Emotion, Suspense

32 WEEKS Review — An Unforgettable Millennial Amnesia Drama

All the Nominees for the Inaugural Critics Choice Super Awards