Liz and Dick is deliciously fun for its boozy melodrama, 1960’s styling and Lindsay Lohan’s eerie parallels with Elizabeth Taylor herself. But is this made-for-TV movie enough to get Lohan’s career back on track?
3 Stars: Perfect for those looking for a guilty pleasure
Richard Burton (Grant Bowler) and Elizabeth Taylor (Lindsay Lohan) had an electric connection on film and in real life. Playing a tortured married couple in the film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, both were nominated for Academy Awards, but only Hollywood-darling Taylor won.
They were married and divorced twice (the first marriage lasting 10 years, the second a year), and it’s difficult to say whether their coupling had more to do with love or with ego and delusions of grandeur. I’d like to think it was love.
Meeting for the first time on the set of Cleopatra, Liz and Dick repel each other like two positive charges. But as the sparks fly, the starlet can’t resist the Welsh-born Shakespearean actor, and the affair begins.
Because Liz was married to Eddie Fisher (Carrie Fisher‘s father) and Dick to first wife Sybil Williams, an international scandal ensued, causing even the Pope to weigh in.
When Dick decides to reconcile with his wife and go back to his family, Liz throws a drunken hissy fit. No one had ever said no to the Hollywood queen before, and she became determined to fight tooth and nail to marry Burton. And she did.
Grant Bowler captures Burton’s deep, resounding stage voice, but with the amount of alcohol he drank and debt he incurred, I can only imagine that Burton’s real-life drunken rages were exponentially grander.
Lohan, a talented actress when focused, finds Liz’s vulnerability and seems to truly connect to her doomed romance. But as with Bowler’s Burton, the real Liz’s temper tantrums must have been like earthquakes, not just resulting in a few broken bottles here and there. Still, it is fun to watch Lindsay smash glasses and turn over tables. One can’t help but see the similarities in the two actresses. Elizabeth Taylor lived a long life. I honestly hope Lindsay Lohan does, too.
With violet eyes, Lohan looks fabulous in diamonds and furs — the filmmakers did a great job re-creating Taylor’s iconic style through the various decades. Though sexy, Lohan’s raspy voice makes me wish she had changed it for the role.
There are some great lines in the movie, like when Liz asks a hotel attendant to be allowed into Dick’s suite. When the employee says no, she rants, “You do know I’m shagging him senseless!”
There are also references to Liz as “Cleo-FAT-tra” and “Cleo, the nympho of the Nile.”
As for Lohan’s comeback, I’d say as long as she keeps showing up to work, she’s well on her way.