An American Crime, which premieres tonight on Showtime, is certainly not going to be an easy film to watch. Even the trailer gives me the creeps. But that may be a credit to the performances in the film, which stars a handful of my favorite actors: Ellen Page, Catherine Keener, James Franco, and Bradley Whitford.
The film — which showed at Sundance in 2007 before being purchased by Showtime — is based on the true story of an Indiana woman (Keener) who abused a teenager in her care (Sylvia, played by Page) in 1960s Indianapolis. Keener's character, Gertrude, becomes a mother figure to Sylvia, who's living with Gertrude and her children while her parents are off traveling with a carnival. But somehow, Sylvia ends up on Gertrude's bad side — a side with vindictive acts and horrifying consequences.
Some dialogue is taken from court transcripts about the case, which are chilling in the trailer and must be even more so over the course of a full movie. I'm not sure if I can sit through this movie without it turning my stomach, but the quality of actors involved is so high, I might give it a shot. The movie premieres at 9 p.m. tonight and will be available On Demand starting May 11. To check out the trailer, just