Liz & Dick
Directed by Lloyd Kramer
“Liz & Dick” premiered to high expectations and a lot of hype for a Lifetime original movie.
The film, chronicling the relationship between then-married stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the 1960s, not only promised a controversial take on their lives, but was also poised to mark the return of Lindsay Lohan, who plays Taylor.
Unfortunately, casting Lohan for this cheap, uninteresting and exploitative movie feels like more of a ploy to get audiences to watch the star continue to falter.
Lohan, who was once a promising screen presence as a child and teenage star, barely even tries to capture the voice or mannerisms of Taylor, rendering her performance as little more than reading lines and wearing heavy eye makeup.
The choice to cast Lohan does not seem entirely innocuous, since she, like Taylor, has also lived a life plagued by paparazzi and scandals.
While Lohan hasn’t had the same high-profile relationship with a married man that Taylor did, the film seems to focus not on their relationship but rather the scandal behind it.
The film opens with Burton (Grant Bowler), on the day of his death, sending a letter to Taylor.
Without explanation the movie flashes back to 1963 on the set of “Cleopatra,” the most expensive movie ever produced at the time, where Burton, a heralded Shakespearean actor, meets the Academy Award-winning actress Taylor.
Both don’t initially seem to like each other, as Lohan plays Taylor as a whining, entitled alcoholic and Bowler plays Grant as an esoteric, pretentious alcoholic.
There is no sexual chemistry, yet the audience is expected to buy into their forbidden love (it is based on a true story), and soon both stars are cheating on their respective spouses.
While both actors deliver one-note performances that usually revolve around the two lovers fighting in one scene and then being perfectly happy in another, the script gives superficial and scandalized explanations for their tumultuous relationship.
Burton, portrayed as perpetually arrogant, becomes envious of Taylor after she wins an Academy Award for a movie they starred in together ““ “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” ““ while he did not.
The film fails to make the audience care for these two seemingly spoiled and entitled characters, whose biggest problem is whether they should get one or two suites during their affair for the sake of discretion.
Instead, the movie delivers monotonous fights, shattered vodka bottles and flashing camera bulbs to dress the story as a juicy and provocative love affair.
While they eventually and unsurprisingly get married and divorced ““ twice ““ the movie only tries to capture how forbidden and scandalous their relationship was, rather than flesh out or humanize these two characters who are already seen as notorious public figures.
One can’t help but feel sorry for Lohan, who seemed to be forced into a premature comeback that will probably end up being more of a setback for her troubled career.
At one point, Lohan as Taylor says about the press, “If they want a show, let’s give them a show,” but as “Liz & Dick” proves, eventually people stop caring about watching the same trainwreck.
Email Palumbo at email@example.com.