Lifetime has made a biographical TV movie to hold us over as we wait for a new jury to be selected so that Jodi’s trial can continue. The murder case has been so highly publicized and poured over, could a dramatization of the whole thing even be worth it? See how the critics felt!
Lifetime sure isn’t wasting any time. Though usually the network holds off a little bit on making their melodrama, “based on a true story” TV movies (like their Scott Peterson film), they didn’t even wait until Jodi Arias’ trail officially ended before making a movie based on her story, called Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret. The movie, which depicts everything leading up to the night Jodi stabbed her boyfriend Travis Alexander nearly 30 times, slit his throat, and shot him in the head, premiered on June 22 and surprisingly, it wasn’t half-bad!
‘Dirty Little Secret’ Reviews
Dirty Little Secret unearths no secrets, dirty or otherwise. Every sordid detail, it seems, has been trumpeted for years by the media, then recycled for months during Arias’ trial in Phoenix that got blanket coverage on TV and in particular on cable’s HLN, vaulting that network to record ratings. Now comes the inevitable made-for-TV film. Portraying what led up to the crime, it’s tucked handily between the May verdict for the murder trial and the July retrial in the life-or-death-penalty phase. The big surprise: Dirty Little Secret is a pretty good film. It’s a draw-you-in, sudsy melodrama stocked with guilty pleasures: romance, sex, obsession, betrayal and vengeance.
New York Daily News
It’s a sad, tragic, awful story, of course, and viewers might wonder why we need it retold in dramatic form so soon after the real-life case ended with her murder conviction. The question is valid. The answer is Tania Raymonde, who plays Arias with a disturbing intensity that makes her more than just another psycho stalker. Viewers who were glued to the trial may note a misplaced detail here and there, but in general they are likely to find this 87-minute movie a solid summation of Arias’ disintegration.
Outside of one relatively witty moment when Arias announces she’s decided to convert to Mormonism and then goes down on Alexander in a hot tub before reemerging in a baptismal pool, the film finds no spark in its clumsy mix of religion, sex and death. Any guilty-pleasure potential is spoiled by the unsettling aftertaste of a real person losing his life to make the movie possible.
For better or worse, it feels extremely toned down compared to some of the camp of Lifetime’s other biographical movies. Productions like the recent Liz and Dick might be an opportunity to pour some wine, bring out the popcorn and enjoy the spectacle (or rip it to shreds). In Dirty Little Secret, the pendulum has swung too far the other way. The facts are there, but they are without adequate context, making the movie fine for catching a friend up with the main points of the trial, but it doesn’t allow the movie to stand alone, nor does it offer any new dimensions to the story it’s telling.
Well, you can’t expect too much from a Lifetime movie. But we’re sure that if you’ve been following the Jodi Arias case, and you like your drama ham-handed, then you’ll love Dirty Little Secret. So HollywoodLifers, do you plan on watching it? Let us know!
WATCH: ‘Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret’ Trailer
— Andrew Gruttadaro
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