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Jaimie Etkin

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Why Lindsay Lohan in Liz & Dick Made Me Sad

Posted: 11/26/2012 5:38 pm

I'm not ashamed to admit that Lindsay Lohan was an important part of my childhood. Though I'm a year older than the child-star-turned-tabloid-mainstay, I grew up watching her.

As many times as my mom told me Hayley Mills' Parent Trap was better, I couldn't get enough of the 1998 installment, starring Lohan as both Annie James and Hallie Parker, separated twins who meet one summer at camp. Eleven-year-old Lohan had charisma, charm and an impressive British accent (at least to 12-year-old me who had yet to travel across the pond). My sister and I learned Annie and Martin's handshake and I started eating Oreos and peanut butter -- "a brilliant beyond brilliant idea." We watched The Parent Trap so many times, our VHS tape no longer worked.

Fourteen years after first being introduced to Lohan in that film, I found myself struggling to sit through Lohan's latest role: Elizabeth Taylor in the Lifetime original movie Liz & Dick. Besides the other problematic factors at hand, Lohan's charisma and charm were nowhere to be found and, as many Twitter users pointed out, her British accent was a far cry from "impressive." But unlike many Twitter users (celebrities and journalists included), I didn't laugh at Liz & Dick, nor did I get angry -- I just got sad.

Behind those violet eyes, Lohan appeared vacant, unable to connect with her co-star. She was merely speaking the words in the script, no longer lighting up the screen the way she once did.

Over the past decade and a half, I've watched Lohan grow from promising young actress to lawbreaker, drug user, on-again-off-again rehab patient and poster child for what not to do with money and fame. There are factors that have contributed to Lohan's downfall: the public (and ugly) dissolution of her mother and father's marriage -- and their antics thereafter; the pressure of having a serious same-sex relationship as the world watches; the scrutiny about her weight and appearance. I'm not saying Lohan is innocent in what's become of her life and her many indiscretions, but we're talking about someone who started modeling at age three. It's hard to say she wanted all of this.

I watched Living Lohan, I saw Georgia Rule, Rumors is on my iPod -- and not to have something to point and laugh at. But at a certain point, I had to turn my head. I didn't take in I Know Who Killed Me or Scary Movie 5 -- it became too hard to watch Lohan subject herself to such roles.

Then came Liz & Dick, which, albeit, did sound a little ridiculous, considering it's a Lifetime movie about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton; but for some reason, I had faith. After a few very bad years, Britney Spears turned it around and so could Lohan, right?

But now, I'm not so sure. While Lohan does have plenty in common with Taylor, perhaps she's still living in that turmoil, unable to step back from it and channel her experience into a realistic portrayal. She's surrounding herself with people like Charlie Sheen -- there's no way her life is normalizing. Seemingly, no one is helping Lohan come out of the dark place she's been stuck in for more than five years now. Instead, the Internet continues to Regina George her.

Maybe it's because of The Parent Trap or Life-Size or Freaky Friday or Mean Girls, but seeing Liz & Dick just makes me grieve for the freckle-faced 11-year-old girl with so much promise.

Will Lindsay ever appear in another well-received project (there was that brief moment of SNL glory)? I hope so. At least we always have The Parent Trap.

 
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