Release Date: 22nd July 2013
Director: Richard Laxton
Writer: William Ivory
Producer: Lachlan McKinnon
Executive Producer: Jessica Pope
Runtime: 1hr 22mins
1983, Elizabeth Taylor invites her twice ex-husband Richard Burton to her fiftieth birthday party where, although he won’t get drunk with her or sleep with her, he does consider her proposal that they star in a new stage adaptation of Noël Coward’s play Private Lives.
Upon announcing the news to the press speculation mounts that the couple may be getting back together again. Elizabeth has hopes for this as well but Burton, although he still loves her, has moved on from their life together and has a new girlfriend, Sally. Burton’s also frail physically as a lifetime of hard drinking takes it toll on him. He is worried that he won’t be able to play the role of King Lear after this play because it will too demanding for him, Elizabeth assures him he’s just being silly.
When the play opens it becomes clear to both of them that the audience are just there to see Burton/Taylor and it’s almost as if the play becomes about their life together. As the couple argue off stage Elizabeth takes it out on Burton on stage, physically hitting him and playing up to audience, talking directly to them on several occasions and acknowledges their cheers mid performance.
After touring for several months the play ends and Elizabeth confesses to Richard that she still loves him. He tells her he still loves her but can’t be with her anymore. He dies the following year of a brain haemorrhage.
Dominic West…as Richard Burton
Helena Bonham Carter…as Elizabeth Taylor
William Hope…as John
Michael Jibson…as Mike
Lucille Sharp…as Liza Todd Burton
Isabella Brazier-Jones…as Maria Burton
2014: British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
2014: Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie or Mini-Series
2013: Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie
2014: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
2013: Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
2013: Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie