Kristen Stewart and Chloë Sevegny turn the legendary Lizzie Borden murder case into a psycho-sexual drama, in “Lizzie, a “re-imagining” of the infamous 1892 homicide. The first trailer has just been released showing the two in action.
Lizzie was accused and tried for the murder of her father and step-mother. Both were bludgeoned to death with a hatchet within hours of each other on a blazing hot Thursday in August in the small town of Fall River, Massachusetts.
It was clearly a crime of passion, driven by deep hatred or emotion. Both father Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, were struck repeatedly. Abby was even looking her murderer in the eye when the first blow fell.
Whether Lizzie committed the crime will never be known. She was acquitted of the murders and went on to live out her life quietly in Fall River. The case was never solved, leading to a number of theories about the murders.
In 1984, mystery author Ed McBain first suggested in a book that Lizzie (Sevegny) and the family housemaid Bridget Sullivan (Stewart) were lovers.
Director Craig William Macneill and screen writer Bryce Kass took their cue and created a psycho-sexual thriller, suggesting the Borden household was fraught with “repression, exploitation and thwarted dreams.”
McBain’s theory held that Abby caught Lizzie and Bridget in a sexual tryst and reacted with horror and disgust. Lizzy, who despised her step-mother, reacted by killing her with a candlestick.
When she confessed her sexuality to her father, he reacted the same way, causing her to kill him in another fit of rage.
The film portrays Lizzie as a lonely, repressed woman living under her strict father’s thumb. She finds a “kindred spirit” in Bridget, and they soon become lovers. “Their secret intimacy sparks an unthinkable act,” according to a synopsis.
The movie also hints that Andrew sexually abused both Lizzie and Bridget.
Of course, in real life, during the investigation and trial, no evidence ever surfaced to suggest sexual tensions were at the root of the murders.
In her later years, however, Lizzie was rumored to be a lesbian. But her relationship wasn’t with Bridget. It was with her sister Emma. They lived together for years afterward and neither married.
Bridget went on to other employment and married a man. But she confessed on her death bed to her sister that she had changed her testimony to help Lizzie during her trial, suggesting there may have been an affinity between them.
“Lizzie” hits theaters September 14. Check out the trailer below and let us know your thoughts.