Five years after her passing, fans were on tenterhooks when a biopic of her life was announced. Thrilled at seeing the starlets memory on-screen, and intrigued as to how they would handle the story of her untimely and mysterious death, many were hooked.
When it was finally released on Lifetime it became irrefutably apparent how low-budget and meagre the project really was.
The actress portraying Murphy, Amanda Fuller, just bared no passing resemblance to the star which is kind of a must with biopics. While nobody expected them to be clones, she had a noticeably larger physique than the super-skinny actress, which was kind of a big focus on her in the day. That could be forgiven if she could pull on any level of murphys charm or star quality, which unfortunately she does not.
With that said, none of the acting was anywhere near even average, as with many Lifetime movies they were all performing for the back row. Exaggerated performances, they really turned it to 11 on the melodrama scale with no hint of subtlety every emotion was smacked across your face.
Can we talk for a minute about Simon Monjack’s character in the movie. He is first introduced as a mysterious figure amongst the hounding paparazzi asking “Who are you?” when she replies her name, he asks again “No, who are you?” He shows up once or twice more as this mysterious stranger, before jumping out of the shadows to rescue her when she needs it. The whole thing is one giant, not to mention creepy cheese-fest.
His career as a pap, history of scamming friends and urge to control Murphy’s every move is brushed upon but swept away as he is portrayed as truly loving and caring for her. The weight of his negative influence in her life is not for longer than a moment displayed, and his involvement in her death ignored.
Large parts of her life were questionably omitted such as her turn in 8 Mile, while others were straight up fake, such as being fired from Happy Feet. With true life stories such as this, the facts are everything and while biopics may focus more on different aspects of a persons life to unquestionably lie is a discredit to the subject and audience.
The role of Ashton Kutcher in her life was unbelievably inflated to a major subplot despite being no more than an onset fling. I’m guessing they did their darndest to extend it due to his notoriety, while her two brief engagements to less-famous men go entirely unmentioned.
The core mystery surrounding the actresses life, and perhaps the reason many viewers tuned in was given an unbelievably short segment. With questions of poisoning, suspicious facts and tales that didn’t add up we were all on the edge of our seat to see “did the mother kill her?” “was her husband involved?” but we got no such coverage. Rather she grew ill over pneumonia, anemia and mixing prescription pills. The toxic mould story, the fathers claims of murder, and even her husbands death of the same cause five months later were not displayed.
Her struggles with anorexia, self esteem, health problems, and paranoia over the paparazzi are touched upon, but nothing about the script is flimsy at best and it struggled to find a narrative throughout. We were just given insight into unrelated segments of her life unitl a gruelling four-minute death scene came out of nowhere.
The biggest problem with the flick was direction. Joe Menendez seemed scared to go anywhere or say anything with the movie and intend just plodded its way through. There was nothing revolutionary or even interesting, despite the material they had to work from.
It was cheap from start to finish; little care was given to sets, wigs, costume, storyline, truth or intrigue. Instead we received a terribly bland while also hyper-dramatic telling of a young Hollywood hopeful driven to death by a media circus and pressures of the industry. We know this because again, no subtlety required Monjack turns to the paps after asking her cause of death and dramatically screams “You, you killed her!”.
Needless to say upon its release the film received widespread negativity. Fans were not only disappointed and bored, but some where even offended that such a travesty was allowed to take place.
Our Verdict Is: Hopefully one day we will get a true telling of this mysterious story and enigmatic star but until then avoid this like the plague. Brittany deserved better.