LiLo woeful as Liz Taylor: better wait for Rachel Weisz

Lindsay Lohan’s portrayal of Hollywood siren is compelling for all the wrong reasons

LAST UPDATED AT 12:18 ON Mon 26 Nov 2012

LINDSAY Lohan badly needs a hit, but dismal reviews of last night’s US premiere of the telemovie Liz & Dick suggests her performance as screen siren Elizabeth Taylor won’t provide one.

Lohan, whose struggle with alcohol and drugs has made her a tabloid favourite and a movie insurer’s nightmare, was hoping for a career comeback with the movie chronicling the famously on-off affair between Taylor and Welsh actor Richard Burton. Instead, critics have lined up to damn the Lifetime channel movie.

The film is "redundant and boring" says the Chicago Tribune which adds that while Lohan’s performance is bad, "no-one could be good with this dialogue".

The two-hour film charts the tempestuous relationship between Taylor and Burton (played by New Zealander Grant Bowler) following their fateful meeting on the set of 1963’s Cleopatra.

There’s lots of drinking, arguing, falling out and making up, but the movie is so terrible, "you’ll need to ice your face when it’s over to ease the pain of wincing for two hours," writes David Wiegand in the San Francisco Chronicle. "The performances range from barely adequate to terrible. That would be Bowler in the ‘barely adequate’ slot and Lohan, well, in the other one."

The Hollywood Reporter warned viewers that Lohan was "woeful as Taylor from start to finish" but advised Americans to see the film because "it’s an instant classic of unintentional hilarity".

There was faint praise from Salon’s Willa Paskin who said Lohan’s voice – the "come-hither, smoky growl of an equally jaded, but much older woman" – worked well in her portrayal of Taylor. She flirts and giggles convincingly, said Paskin, but "she makes a hash of the difficult stuff."

British followers of the Taylor and Burton story will be pleased to hear there are currently no plans to screen Liz & Dick on this side of the Atlantic. Instead, there’s an upcoming BBC drama which should offer a more convincing portrait of the ill-fated couple.

Dominic West will play Burton and Rachel Weisz will take on the Taylor role in a production that tells the story of their appearance in the short-lived 1983 Broadway production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives.

As The Sunday Times reports, Taylor was drinking heavily during this period and the play received terrible reviews, closing after a few weeks. Burton died the following year aged 58. · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.