Lizzie Borden Redux: Chloë Sevigny. Kristen Stewart. In 19th-century dresses. In love.

| February 7, 2018

Chloë Sevigny, Kristen Stewart Enthrall in Lesbian Retelling of Lizzie Borden

From The Advocate: Didn’t catch Lizzie at Sundance? Here’s the lowdown, in a complete sentence: The new flick explores the “real” motive behind Lizzie Borden’s supposed murder of her parents in 1892 —  the ability to her be with her lesbian love. Chloë Sevigny (Lizzie) and Kristen Stewart enthrall in this lesbian re-telling of the Lizzie Borden story.

“I’m from right outside Fall River, Mass., and I grew up haunted by tales of Lizzie Borden,” Craig William Macneill, who directed the movie, tells The Advocate, “My brother and I would tease each other, and scare each other, talking about Lizzie. I even wrote an essay about her in elementary school, and my mother drove me out to their house and we walked around the property.”

Macneill’s re-creation of what occurred at Lizzie’s home dangles between genres; it’s a period thriller, a murder mystery, a story of a forbidden love. The immense chemistry between Sevigny, who plays the titular character (and also was the driving force behind its production) and Stewart will make you squeal.

“Lizzie was always a very mysterious figure for me, and I wanted to keep her as a mystery throughout the film. We’re sort of looking in on her, as opposed to seeing the world through her eyes as you watch the film,” Macneill asserts, determined not to depict Lizzie as a warm, helpless victim.

“There’s this intentional detachment from her, so you’re watching it and you’re sort of sympathizing for her, or I hope you’re sympathizing for her and caring for her, but at the same time, you’re questioning her: Do you know her? Is she a sociopath? Or is she someone who’s just pushed so far up to that breaking point?”

The complicated depiction of Borden as both a resilient and harsh antihero is what drew Sevigny to the script, says Macneill. “Chloe, she found the project, and she was drawn toward this very strong powerful woman smashing the patriarchy.”

In Lizzie’s case, power comes from distance and limited voyeurism.

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