Movie Review – An American Crime (2007)


This movie has literally, and I mean literally, left me speechless!

This is what happens when a movie is made with an amazing story and fabulously great actors. This is a movie that makes you think about it long after it is over and leaves a strong impression on your mind. It is a movie that makes you live the story and start feeling things that are actually happening in the movie. This is a movie that makes you feel grateful about the life you’ve had so far. Well I could just go on and on and on because this is one of the best movies I have seen till date.

The story is based on a real life event that shocked America in mid-1960s. It is about an innocent teenage girl who has to endure the tortures meted to her by a woman who is supposed to be taking care of her. This movie delves a lot deeper than just putting the story as is on screen. It shows how we, the people can be so totally blind to something wrong taking place right in our neighborhoods, thinking that ‘someone’ will take action someday.

Sylvia & Gertrude

It also shows that how important a role ‘perspective’ plays while deciding what is wrong and what is right. Innocent children commit and perpetuate crime just because someone tells them it is the right thing to do and because everyone else around them is doing it.

This movie shows how people’s lack of empathy destroyed an innocent life. And the fact that it happened in real to someone makes it even more scary and heart-wrenching. Ellen Page just shines in this movie despite being so young. She shows her mettle as an actress in all the scenes and emotes happiness, fear, pain etc. perfectly.

The closing dialogue of the movie totally takes the cake and makes you think about it long after the movie has ended.Sylvia & Jenny with their friends

I was personally moved a great deal by the movie. It’s a total must watch and I would give it a ten on ten. A total Jhakaas!!

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 7.4/10
  • Based on a true story that happened in Indiana in 1965.
  • The film is based largely on actual court transcripts from the case.
  • Ellen Page was the only choice to play Sylvia Likens.
  • Ellen Page literally starved herself for her role as Sylvia. When director Tommy O’Haver noticed she was looking thinner, he asked her if she was eating and she replied “No, because Sylvia wasn’t being fed.”
  • Catherine Keener originally turned down the role of Gertrude Baniszewski, however after she couldn’t get the story out of her head she met with director Tommy O’Haver and agreed to do the film.
  • The film was shot in chronological order to give the actors the experience of what Sylvia really went through.
  • Most of the cast were completely unaware of the real murder case until after they read the script.
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