A full week after the rest of the world has chimed in about this movie, I’m adding my two cents. Seriously, I’m pretty sure the dog from Frasier came out of retirement to tweet about this movie. And yet! I don’t give a shit. I am doing it anyway because I want to watch the movie and Kelly Lynn is over and so here it is, our VERY SPECIAL opinions.
I should admit that I know little about the actual life of Elizabeth Taylor beyond the cliches about her getting married a lot and I remember those White Diamond commercials of my childhood that were filmed through a layer of vaseline. Basically, I am being educated by this movie and I’m sure that’s sad to many many Liz Taylor fanatics out there.
The movie opens in the past, by a very glamorous swimming pool (for no reason and we never see it again). Then it’s abruptly 1984 and Richard Burton is dying. The End. Just kidding, now he’s flashing back?
A weird black room where LiLo is all “I loved getting Richard’s letters.” This a clever way for them to do an entire scene of only exposition to set up the next scene. By clever, I mean hamfisted.
Now we’re in Rome on the set of a movie, but the them that is on the black and white set ARE WATCHING THIS MOVIE being filmed. Is that meta enough for you? I’m trying to figure out what this movie looked like on the page and failing. Kelly thinks they’re watching from the afterlife… so maybe the black room is hell?
The movie is Cleopatra and Richard Burton walks up to her and is all “has anyone told you, you’re a very pretty girl?” and I have to imagine she had heard that a zillion times by this point in her life so great line, Romeo. Then them in the black room comment on that scene and flirt a little as though they’re strangers and not dead people looking back on their love so this room remains a mystery.
At some dinner Liz Taylor is laughing about how lame Richard Burton is with his lame-o lines and he overhears from another table so he loudly talks from his table:
Richard Burton: I said to her has anyone ever told you’re a very pretty girl and paused and she walked away before I could add “you’re not a pretty girl, though you once were, you’re now a beautiful woman with the depths of the ocean your violet eyes are the promise of ripe plum and your soft firm lips and your spilling white hot bosom…”
EWWW. I can’t believe she marries this dude.
In the next scene he’s so drunk that he can’t walk and his butler (?) is carrying him while his wife is all “what’s going on?” She is surprised that he tried to be civil to someone, especially a woman (because she was more used to him being a total asshole? I guess). Yup, he’s married and has kids at home. So is she. They make today seem to scandalous in the press but this movie makes it seem like the 60s was even worse.
Now he’s bungling everything on set because he’s wasted and so Liz Taylor takes him to her trailer to give him more booze. Oh, the past, when everyone was an alcoholic.
Then she immediately acts like he’s trying to bed her is all “NOT ME, GOOD SIR!” about it because she’s apparently not interested but he zings back “I don’t go after dumpy women!” Dude, you already told her she has eyes like ripe plum oceans, she knows you’re into her. Very smooth.
She meets his wife. It’s awkward for everyone.
On set someone tells Liz that they have a love scene the next day and she’s all “WHAT?!?” because she never read her script and doesn’t know what this movie is about. Someone! Quick! Tell her where she is.
Don’t worry, they take very easily to the love scene and quickly run to their trailers to do it while everyone on set waits for them and wonders what to tell their respective spouses.
WHAT?? Is there time built into the schedule for these kinds of shenanigans?
In the next scene we see the Italian newspapers say she left Eddie Fisher and there is a photo of her with Richard Burton. Kelly Lynn- “Hey, it’s that guy!” Firstly, one of the guys is Creed from the office (not joking) and the other one Kelly says is “you know, that hot sexy guy from other stuff.” So there you go, he’s that guy. We have no idea who these guys are or why they’re talking. **Now that we’ve finished the movie I can say with certainty that we never find out or see them again**
Eddie Fisher gets back in town and the press is all “have you seen the paper!” but he’s cool about it and doesn’t seem worried that he’s been left by his wife.
At a party in Rome Richard goes up to Eddie and is all “I’m sleeping with your wife” like it’s a totally normal thing to bring up at a party. What a jerk.
Richard, in front of this whole party, is all “Liz, who do you love? Me or Eddie?!!?!?” And everyone quiets to listen to the juicy gossip. She says Richard and it’s both a shitty thing to do to your husband and also a shitty thing to make someone do. Richard Burton was a total a-hole, huh?
Should I assume this movie is accurately depicting these people? Wait, that’s a rhetorical question.
Her agent is all “does this mean you’re ending your fourth marriage before you’re even 29?” Liz is all “you know I love men!”
They’re in love and doing it a lot and he says so many gaggy things like “I don’t need a pool, I have a whole ocean in you” yuck times infinity.
They’re naked in their beautiful pool (I thought he didn’t need a pool?) in Rome and the paparazzi just comes into the yard and so she moons them. Was Liz Taylor all about other frat boy activities? Did her estate sign off on this movie? I can’t wait for the scene where she plays beer pong.
Now for a boring scene where he buys her a ridiculously expensive necklace.
“It’s all about the jewels. Men just don’t realize it until we have them all.” As a woman, I can totally relate to this… oh wait…
We now learn that they are each still married (to other people). Richard’s butler is all “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU??” because Sybil attempted suicide (his horrible answer is “I’ve been lost in a pool” gagggg) and his butler is the only one who seems to understand that this guy is still married. Richard is all “I love Elizabeth, sorry.” Great apology.
Liz, in turn, goes to take a bunch of pills and threaten suicide. This guy loves dramatic women who threaten suicide at the drop of a hat.
Kelly Lynn is all “did they really fall in love because he looked at her boobs and she swooned during a scene they were filming?” She’s right, they really skipped right over that part and just to them running around like idiots in the public eye while their spouses raise the children at home. I wish they spent any time on her going from thinking he’s a cheeseball to wanting him so badly since this is such a talked about classic romance and everything.
I JUST REALIZED THE GUY PLAYING RICHARD BURTON IS THE GUY WHO MARRIED VANESSA WILLIAMS ON UGLY BETTY. And that he’s like 20 years older that Lilo, great casting everyone. I miss Ugly Betty.
He literally carries the overdosing Liz Taylor into an Italian hospital so I’m sure the paparazzi is peeing themselves over this. They are making these two out like real publicity hounds who are shitty to everyone.
The doctor says that she’ll be fine but that she does not want to see him.
They are now back on set and apparently this movie is still being filmed because it’s the longest production in the history of time. KL says that that’s true and that it took forever and lost a ton of money so there’s a bit of history for you. Now we know that it took forever because they had to schedule around these two and their boning/attempted suicide schedule- good trivia!
They meet in her trailer to discuss their future and he’s all “Sybil has decided to try again.” Hahahahaahahah, this is not what she wanted to hear. She wanted to hear that he was leaving his wife and marrying her. He’s all “oh no, not doing that.” She cries and my favorite part of this scene is them seriously fighting while he’s wearing a short short costume from the movie.
Liz is going crazy because she doesn’t have a job and just has to be in Switzerland in a beautiful chalet but apparently she is a high maintenance diva who can’t enjoy things. She’s so boooooorrrrred.
A letter has come from Richard and she reads it. End scene.
She goes to meet him for lunch in a crazy fur coat and hat combo.
Their small talk is the most boring thing ever. “How are your children…. (LONG PAUSE).” He’s in hell at home though. I’m sure his wife would love to know that. End scene.
Now they’re meeting by some fire and exchanging books. Why? Who knows. These two people have no chemistry at all. Like, imagine the worst internet date you’ve been on and you have the fireworks going on between these two actors when they’re “flirting.”
He says he’s doing some movie and Sophia Loren might play opposite but Liz is all “nope, the part is mine!” because that’s how she lives her life.
She calls Mr. Sheffield from the Nanny (!!) and lets him know that she wants the part. He says no but in the next scene she is on this movie so I guess her “charm” won out? She knows he’ll bang whomever else he works with so that’s healthy and their relationship sounds really solid and fulfilling.
They’re doing it like bunnies again while he ignores his wife. Being married to him would be the fucking worst.
Now he’s drunk driving home and yelling for his wife. His butler may be related to him or his wife and he’s all “you’re the worst, Richard” He’s saying what we’re all thinking. I shouldn’t assume every guy from the UK who wears a suit is a butler, this guy is his brother Kelly says.
Liz drinks and throws glass at the wall because she’s the most dramatic drama queen ever.
She says she has left Eddie but that he won’t divorce her. She’s such a treat, I can see why! She hates that she left her husband but he hasn’t left his wife. She prefers to get what she wants.
What I’m getting from this movie is that Elizabeth Taylor loved fur and loved hats and most of all, she loved fur hats.
Mr. Sheffield is all “oh god, they’re drinking at 8am” because he’s sure they can’t get through a day of shooting already. How fun for this whole crew. They shoot two lines and then they cut. That is not a scene, but no matter. Then they get into a huge couple fight on set in front of everyone and she storms out, very professionally. How do these people get booked on jobs? They’re the worst.
Another gross sex scene but this one has smoking.
Now Liz tells the hotel she needs to get into his suite and goes in and hangs up an original Van Gogh.
Sybil is not thrilled when she sees it but she seems like she now understands that she is in a different world than her husband and she grants him the divorce. (The world her husband lives in involves him banging every woman he meets, for example)
Liz is elated that he’s “free!” They go out to dinner and everyone is leering at them and she says they’re hypocrites because other people have affairs.
He says that they’ve also abandoned their children essentially and she’s all “pish posh.” She has a hundred nannies raising her children so divorce doesn’t change her mothering strategy.
A stupid scene where the hotel guy asks if they’ll be staying after the movie wraps and they discuss every detail of their personal lives in front of this guy. They love attention from strangers.
She decides they should go to New York and do Hamlet. Next scene- they’re in New York and he’s rehearsing Hamlet. That was easy!
They’re hated though, for their slutting around. Even the pope hates them, they are that famous.
Liz demands that Eddie divorce her so the press can stop saying they are adulterers. He does, because when she wants something she gets it.
They get married!
Then Hamlet opens and it’s a raging success! What a charmed montage this is.
On stage at Hamlet he announces “there will be no more marriages!” and it’s not professional at all, as per all their other behavior at work has been.
Steve from Sex and the City walks up to them at a party and mentions Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf to Liz and she’s all “ooh, I love it.” Richard is all “I could be in it too!” because both of these people just assert themselves into any movie without actually being asked. Steve is all “you’re not right for the part” but that’s not an acceptable answer so he’s outvoted by Liz and Richard and that’s that.
Now he’s losing at the Oscars and being a giant baby and then they’re at the Virginia Woolf opening and they get into a huge fight IN THE MIDDLE OF THE THEATER because they love to have strangers watch them be awful people. Such drama queens. Nothing like making a movie I love seem like an afterthought of two drama queens. She throws some more glass stuff at him, as is her communication style.
They get nominated for Oscars again! Wow, big news. But then she wins and he loses and he drinks a whole bottle of Vodka and whines about it because he’s still a giant baby. His brother tells him that he’s going to lose Elizabeth because he’s a giant baby.
Now we find out that they’re broke. He’s the highest paid man in Hollywood and she’s fucking Elizabeth Taylor and they’re finding some way to pee through all their money. Maybe cut back to just 1-2 nannies instead of a fleet of them? Kelly thinks maybe no more 40k necklaces but once you get used to spending 40k on a necklace, apparently you can never go back.
Don’t worry, in the next scene they have a giant yacht and a full time photographer so they are great with money.
This movie heavily implies that Richard Burton banged dudes as well as ladies. Was this movie written by a team of British tabloid reporters?
We’re supposed to believe that Liz is getting fatter and the press is calling her fat but they don’t do anything to make Lindsay Lohan look fatter so these scenes are very confusing.
“MY PUDGY FAT HANDS!” but it’s just Lilo’s little bony hand in the scene. To make her feel better about her fatness she wants a giant diamond ring. That meeting about money continues to not resonate with them.
He buys her a ring that costs over a million dollars and is bigger than her whole hand. It’s stupid how big this ring is. Kelly doesn’t think you can even wear it.
Liz walks around the yacht in her bathing suit and then lays around. You know how fat people are always spending their days in their bathing suits in public. She’s sad because it’s December and it doesn’t seem holiday-like at all. They decide to “open up” the Switzerland house for Christmas. The accountant is shaking his head at this. Richard’s brother is all “god, you’re the worst!” and they fight again but this time about money. The brother goes off to open the house for him because Richard is useless.
A scene in the dark where I think the brother falls. Apparently he has hurt his spine and will never walk again. These people continue to be the worst.
Depressing music plays as the Switzerland house is opened for Christmas and Richard drinks another bottle of vodka.
Back on the yacht in Italy! Fun, party music! But Richard is still wasted so I don’t know how much time has passed.
They fight again about money and acting and how much they hate each other. She continues to be super jealous any time he might work with another actress. Then a big package arrives and they’ve made up again because she bought him 1000 volumes of some book collection. Problem solved!
Richard Burton is now wearing a giant fur coat.
They take a private plane and she wants one so he asks how much one costs. These people are idiots.
He says that she needs a big 40th birthday party and I guess 10 years have past. Much like the fat thing, they’re not aging her at all so I had no idea.
At her birthday party some asshole lady is all “remember when she was a movie star?” and she runs back to her room sobbing that she’s become a joke.
Kelly says that she should be glad that she didn’t live in the age of the internet where everyone is an asshole all of the time.
Now we find out the brother has died and Richard literally opens a bottle of vodka and chugs it.
Them in the black room has Liz saying that she was his ocean but his brother was his anchor. That’s that on the topic.
Now on the set of Bluebeard he’s wasted and Liz walks up all “I hear you’re on your third bottle.” THIRD BOTTLE.
He flirts with an actress right in front of her and is all “she has such exquisite hands” because as we’ve seen, he’s the worst husband in the world. Of course then he’s in a newspaper photographed with that actress so Liz has a revenge affair (with Aristotle O’Nassis) because this is how adults behave.
They’re divorcing. Surprise!
She’s pissed when she finds out that he’s already proposed to someone else despite that being exactly what happened with her when he left his first wife. Kelly wonders if we’re supposed to think she’s old here since she looks the exact same. She has severe back problems and is in the hospital so maybe. The makeup budget was blown covering up the freckles on her arms I guess.
They think she might have cancer so she has the doctor calls Richard for her. False alarm! But he’s at the hospital and they’re talking so it’s not all lost. They get married again! What a scene! That was a leap that made no sense at all- but no matter, forge ahead.
Now he’s in bed dying like he was in the first scene. Liz is picking out a dress for some event when helicopters start circling and she thinks there’s another fire in LA. Her mom breaks the news that Richard has died and Liz faints because she’s the most dramatic person ever. This is 10 years after the last scene but the way this movie jumps through time I didn’t fully understand.
In this one scene for the funeral they have put a wig on her to show some age but not even a bit of age makeup so it’s just Lilo in a Liz Taylor wig from the 80s. It’s fucking ridiculous. I hope she wears this for Halloween next year. They really accelerated the last 12 or so years of their story in order to make it fit and I guess whether or not it made sense was not an issue.
And that’s that, the end. So now I know that Liz Taylor was just a stupid asshole who loved giant diamonds and throwing vases at walls and at men. Her legacy is not safe in my hands (or in the hands of whomever wrote this movie).