Parents' Guide to

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Brutal murders, courtroom drama in historical drama.

Movie NR 2014 91 minutes
Lizzie Borden Took an Ax Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

With her pointed chin and big, haunted eyes, Ricci makes a compelling and creepy Lizzie. She doesn't look like the real-life Lizzie, who was chunky and fair, but she certainly makes a believable murderess, and she's a lot of fun to watch (if your idea of fun is watching a loving, if strict, mother and father murdered in their own home). Despite being old enough for her father to call a "spinster," in true teen fashion Lizzie resents her parents for not giving her enough money and freedom. That's enough of a reason in her eyes to knock the couple off, though the movie doesn't confirm for the viewer that Lizzie did it until late in the proceedings.

Before that, there's a big hunk of courtroom drama that slows down the story considerably, a dead weight in the middle of the movie. The beginning is fantastic, as we meet and loathe Lizzie and absorb the Victorian milieu. Then the murders happen and we're stuck in a boring brown courtroom. Things liven up considerably by the end, as Lizzie reveals to her sister how she did it, as we watch her flailing with an ax or slipping out of her dress before attacking her father. It's gory, horrible, yet very compelling stuff. Does it make sitting through the courtroom scenes worth it? Maybe -- for those who have an interest in the real-life case. Casual viewers may want to schedule some multi-tasking during that part of the movie, and stick around for the unsettling ending.

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