The film is An American Crime written and directed by Indianan Tommy O'Haver. Catherine Keener plays Indiana tortureress Gertrude Baniszewski co-staring with the up-and-coming Ellen Page as Sylvia Likens.
The story of Baniszewski and Likens is horrid, and takes place in the 1960s. Born in 1929 Baniszewski had her own sad life of family death, divorce, abuse, and miscarriages. But none of this compares to what happened in the 60s when Lester and Betty Likens truster their 15 and 16 year old daughters to the care of Baniszewski for 20 dollars a week. For various possible reasons, Gertrude did horrible things to the oldest daughter Sylvia...horrible things which are just too horrible to comprehend that involved intense torture, embarassment, mutilation, and eventually death. Beyond Gertrude's own sickness is the fact that she allowed many others to abuse Sylvia and participate in torture and no one reported anything. After the death of Sylvia, Gertrude was arrested, tried, and imprisoned. And despite the horrid events was eventually realeased on parole after 20 years in prison. Released in 1985 she died in 1990 of Lung Cancer.
This horrid story doesn't even sound like any type of entertainment at all. The story of abused children (like in Hounddog) certainly are horrifying, but that does not mean that challenging and dramatic roles like the one played by Keener and Page will perhaps will get them critical recognition for playing these Real (Reel) People.
Related Tags: bio pic, Ellen Page, Catherine Keener, Gertrude Baniszewski, Sylvia Likens, torture, abuse, murder, Indiana, 1960s, Parole, An American Crime, Tommy O'Haver, Depressing, Film