Burton and Taylor (2013)

In 2012, I wrote a scathing review (just one in a sea of negative reviews) of Lindsay Lohan’s turn as Elizabeth Taylor in Liz & Dick.  If you’re interested in reading my pain you can do so here.  After its premiere, the BBC announced plans to tell the a continuation on the Liz & Dick mythos with Burton and Taylor.  I can’t say this movie is any better, as the duo were just too theatrical and campy to take seriously today, but the BBC put on a far classier presentation than Lifetime did.

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were immortalized as the tempestuous George and Martha in 1966’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  The twice married (to each other) and divorced couple were life-long friends and their relationship is the poster child for on-again/off-again couples.  In 2012, Lindsay Lohan scandalized the late Taylor in Lifetime’s screeching Liz & Dick, so when the BBC announced their own take on the Burton//Taylor relationship, simply dubbed Burton and Taylor, it was believed the British channel was riding Lifetime’s coattails.  Burton and Taylor is head and shoulders above Liz & Dick, but it’s far from an enduring piece of entertainment.  The plotline is nicely contained to one element of the duo’s lengthy life together, but too often devolves into theatrics and After School Special melodrama albeit with classier, more competent actors.

In 1983, Elizabeth Taylor (Helena Bonham Carter) and Richard Burton (Dominic West) reunited to perform Noel Coward’s play, Private Lives.  As Taylor struggles with alcoholism, Burton is flummoxed at how to act both on-stage and off, opposite his unprepared ex.

The rest of the review can be read exclusively at Cinema Sentries

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