Yet another edition of Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab! This week’s film is Christa’s pick, which I wholeheartedly endorse, Lizzie Borden Took an Ax. Check out Christa’s review on her blog.
Lizzie Borden Took an Ax
Where to Watch:
Lizzie Borden, played by Christina Ricci, is on trial for the ax murders of her father and stepmother.
The Uncondensed Version:
One of the first outfits we see Lizzie wearing is essentially something Christina Ricci wears in Penelope. So basically I expected this movie to be Penelope but with murder, and I was not disappointed.
Lizzie lives with her sister, stepmother, and overbearing, borderline obsessive-compulsive father. At one point she’s humming to herself while ironing, and he reminds her “I’ve asked you not to make noise while I’m in this room.” Way to be an 1800s dick, Mr. Borden (there are a lot of those in this movie).
It seems Lizzie’s main hobbies are watching dudes, making crazy eyes at everyone, and shoplifting.
“I’ve always wanted more,” Lizzie says as she checks herself out with a new dress in front of a mirror. All essential elements of a Lifetime movie are officially present.
Lizzie’s already considering all angles, as she tells her friend about the shady dudes her father refuses to pay for their sub-par labor. Maybe something terrible will happen at the house, like murder, though obviously not committed by me, Lizzie Borden, LOL.
After Lizzie’s father discovers she has stolen a mirror from the dress shop, he forbids her from attending a party that night. Don’t worry, Lizzie, you SHALL go to the ball, aka den of sin.
A note about the music of this film: it’s so hilariously anachronistic, but it completely works in the way it does for Moulin Rouge. Lizzie’s breakin’ all the rules, so she always gets rebellious rock ‘n roll to accompany everything she does.
Overnight, there is a robbery at the Borden residence: their pet(?) pigeons are dead, and some of the stepmother’s jewelry is missing. Prime suspect? Lizzie. Always Lizzie.
This leads to a big fight between Lizzie and her father; essentially, she’s ungrateful, he’s a Nazi.
The next day, Lizzie is acting super sketchy and messing around with shit in the basement. She tells the maid that her stepmother left to visit a sick friend. Later, Lizzie screams as she discovers her father dead with his face bashed in.
When questioned, Lizzie says she was in the barn looking for her fishing tackle at the time, then ate three pears (all of this, of course, while making crazy eyes). There is a stain on her dress, which Lizzie explains is an old stain from stew.
The other dude whose job I don’t really understand, blonde 1800s asshole, is suspicious.
Cut to Lizzie and her sister, Emma, attending the funeral (with this gospel/jazzy song that is kind of close to being a dance track). The funeral is interrupted as the bodies are exhumed for the investigation.
The police/lawyers/1800s people whose job descriptions I don’t understand question Lizzie, asking her to bring in the dress for further examination. So, of course, she burns it.
The blonde 1800s asshole is convinced Lizzie did it and points out “Insane asylums are full of insane women.” FUCK YOU TOO, 1800S DUDE.
When Lizzie is interrogated, she snaps a little bit and reveals she didn’t think of her stepmother as a mother.
Shortly after, Lizzie is formally charged with murder and arrested.
There are several pieces of evidence against Lizzie, though none of them make a whole lot of sense: Lizzie never gave her father gifts, she went in to the drug store/apothecary a few days before and asked about rat poison, and skulls! In court! Just because!
On the other hand, Emma claims she told Lizzie to burn the dress because it was old, and there were also those sketchy dudes who were disgruntled that Mr. Borden never paid them.
In the end, Lizzie is found not guilty, and she makes crazy eyes at the 1800s blonde dude to triumphant rock music.
At this celebratory party, Lizzie is getting super affectionate with one of her lady friends, so IDK if Lifetime is implying Lizzie Borden was a lesbian. I’m going with a yes because it explains why Emma freaks out about Lizzie’s life of sin/invitation of attention/lack of real friends. In response, Lizzie tells Emma that she did, in fact, commit the murders. Emma leaves, NEVER TO RETURN.
Then they go for a bit of Psycho ending here because we get skulls/Lizzie’s bloody face complete with crazy eye stare.
You guys, if 1. I had cable and 2. I didn’t have to work, I would almost certainly stay at home watching Lifetime movies all day. I just don’t get tired of movies about women getting fed up with your bullshit, men, and snapping.
I loved this particular LMN offering because at times it felt like watching the angry feminist Drunk History, so it was kind of perfect. Next dude I see is getting punched.
Also a million Pink Panther Heads for Christina Ricci making crazy/sexy eyes all the fucking time while wandering around in a nightgown.
Christa is prob tired of me saying this, but it was like my childhood dream of seeing Wednesday Addams grow up and commit unspeakable crimes was fulfilled.
Apparently the spin-off TV series, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles started airing on April 5th. Why am I currently doing anything that isn’t watching that show?
I LOVED the beginning, but I do admit the second half, which focused on the trial, started to drag. Less talking, more ax-murdering. IT’S THE AMERICAN WAY.