In this very recent Town & Country mag interview Chloe Sevigny admits her film “Lizzie” is fiction but it’s what she says about Lizzie the person where she gets it all wrong.
First of all let me say that whenever I ready ANYTHING about Lizzie Borden where it states unequivocably that an “axe” was used (instead of a hatchet), a red flag goes up in my critical, case purist mind. Alas, it was mentioned almost immediately. The trouble with the content of remarks made in this interview is that urban legends are reinforced once again.
Sevigny maintains Lizzie Borden was stifled under her father’s rigid control and had no outlets to vent her frustrations. Truth be told, Lizze at age 32, was just on the cusp of joining the core of that society she so craved. For the past 7 years she had been active in the Congregational Church, taking part in almost all it’s departments, i.e., Fruit and Flower Mission, also Reverent Buck’s Mission where she taught Chinese children, Womens’ Board of the Fall River Hospital, etc. etc. She pretty much came and went as she pleased, entering and existing by the front door as her sister, Emma, did while her father and stepmother used the back door. Lizzie went out frequently to make calls but most of her social engagements involved the Central Congregation Church. And just the year before she had gone a 16 week Grand Tour to Europe. She was no captive of her father’s doman, that’s for sure.
I have repeatedly said Sevigny’s film is soft porn. Just as there are books with hooks there are films produced for targeted audiences. This film is no exception. But I’ll still go see it. And I’ll keep buying those books.