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TV Tonight: An American Crime on Showtime

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


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Neuroticone Neuroticone 9 years
Great movie. The most disturbing thing is that the kids in the neighboorhood participated. No one told or stood up for Sylvia.
katwo katwo 9 years
Oh yes, I saw this film a few weeks ago. TOTALLY DISTURBING AND HORRIFYING. totally loved it.
Dianna Dianna 9 years
This film is VERY hard to watch & NOT for the squeamish, which includes myself. I turned away more than once & muted most of it. It's been on TV all week & I only wanted a glimpse of that most handsome JAMES FRANCO who, BTW plays a very unlikable character who slaps Katherine Keener around, makes love to her & then gets her to give HIM $20! She already had his baby while her other 6 kids belong to her husband who left the clan to fend for themselves! (I'm wondering where welfare & food stamps were back in the '60's in Indianna!) This was a horrible "family" with no conscience...
animatedpunk animatedpunk 9 years
yeah, after reading more about what happened to Sylvia.... i feel nauseous.... so I definitely definitely definitely couldn't watch this movie....
animatedpunk animatedpunk 9 years
ahhh, i could barely make it through the trailer. my stomach turned just during that small bit.... don't think I could watch this...
dukegirl dukegirl 9 years
Whoops: meant "without a doubt."
dukegirl dukegirl 9 years
Whew. I just watched An American Crime, which will stay with me for a long time. Without a double, it is a tough go. Even so, try to watch it to honor the memory of Sylvia Likens.
megnmac megnmac 9 years
I keep debating whether I'll end up watching this. It is provocative but in the end I don't know if I want such depressing entertainment...
nimue nimue 9 years
Wow I just googled the true story, and like some of the other people that commented, I dont know if I can watch this. What happened to Sylvia Likens is horrific and an example of the darkness of human nature.
freaky-mrd freaky-mrd 9 years
WOW. I just watched this movie, and wow. An American Crime is a deeply disturbing film, with an outstanding cast. I saw Ellen Page in Hard Candy last year, and now in this film. She is a terrific performer. I think An American Crime is a very provocative film done tastefully. I can't remember the last movie that moved me as much as this one did. Durring the more horrific torture scenes, my heart started racing as I watched in disbelief. You hear about abuse and torture/murder crimes all to often, but to get a real feel of the horror lived by these victims you really need to relive it with them. This film succeeds in doing this, while so many others have failed, I think in part to the gifted performance of Ellen Page. I would recommend this film to most adults, but expect to be outraged and horrified. While it may provoke some incredible feelings, it does so by giving you a clear idea of what is happening without being gorey or gruesome.
femmefatale femmefatale 9 years
I watched. The things she did were horrible but even worse were the neighborhood kids and her own children.
gruaig_rua gruaig_rua 9 years
I remember reading about this crime a few years ago. Horrific. I don't think I could watch that movie :(.
dlmslp dlmslp 9 years
okay so this is horrific. i did research on what happens, so i don't think i can stay tuned in. what a hideous woman.
dlmslp dlmslp 9 years
creepy! thanks for the heads up. i will watch this tonight. i love ellen page. loved her since i saw her in another creepy movie...hard candy.
xlightningboltx xlightningboltx 9 years
OMG, I couldn't even watch the whole trailer. It was just too horrible!
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